Monday, December 15, 2014

Review: UnSouled

UnSouled by Neal Shusterman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Originally posted 10/31/2013

Unsouled starts out by giving us a look at how unwinding came about. Janson and Sonia Rheinschild, are the scientists who created a way to use every bit of a donors body. Their intentions were to help those in need, but the evil corporations used their dream to build an empire. After the Heartland War, people were scared, and with the educational system being down for so long, teens were turning feral. Many people agreed to the Unwind Order out of fear. The Rheinschild's never supported the way their work was used, and so they were erased..
Large spoiler section below, because there is too much going on to remember when the next book comes out!

Janson knew that to change anything he would have to stop the need for the unwinds. Too many people were benefiting from the unwinds, to ever want to stop it. He developed a way to create organs, and tissue starting with a few small cells so that the unwinds wouldn't be needed. To his utter dismay the corporations refused his methods, because too many people were making too much money in the unwind business. The powers that be effectively erased the Rheinschild's from history, shortly before Janson gave up and had a heart attack. Sonia turned out to be the Sonia that first gave Connor and Risa shelter when they went on the run.
Connor (the Akron AWOL) and Lev (the tithe who was rescued by Connor in the beginning, eventually became a clapper who didn't clap) are on the run from the graveyard barely escaping Nelson the parts pirate, after they were attacked. A lot of kids were killed in the battle, but many escaped. While driving back to Akron where it all started, with plans to question Sonia after learning of her past, the two of them are in a wreck. Connor goes into town to steal another car, but is kidnapped by Argent Skinner. Argent is a lowlife dope head who has a hero fascination with Connor. He is convinced that the two of them will be great friends once Connor comes around. Argent's sister Grace is low corticol (slow) and he treats her badly. Connor realizes that she is much smarter than her brother gives her credit for, and treats her nice. Argent's dumb ass takes a pic with an unconscious Connor and post it to Facebook, causing the cops to storm the place. Grace hides Connor out, and helps him get away, and ends up along for the ride. They pick up Lev, but he is badly injured when they accidentally hit him. The closest place they can go for help is the Arapache Reservation where Lev knows some people.
Lev stayed with the Tashi'ne family for a while, until on a spirit quest their son Wil, was captured by parts pirates to save the rest of their group. The Arapache don't believe in unwinding, and the reservations aren't required to adhere to the laws like the outside. Elina, Wil's mother takes them in, and hides them for a while. Una, Wil's fiance is not happy at first to see Lev, and tells him he brings trouble whenever he comes. They stay a few weeks while Lev is healing, still planning to return to Akron.
Risa was blackmailed by Proactive Citizenry to endorse their campaign, or watch her friends at the graveyard be captured and unwound. Once she finds out they were attacked anyway, she reveals on national tv that she was blackmailed, and never agreed with them, right before she makes a run for it. While running she is caught in a trap left by a parts pirate. She manages to kill him, but does so before she can get free. The only person she can think to call is Cyrus Finch.
Cyrus Finch received a part of Tyler Walkers brain, and Tyler makes his presence known, or so he says. Cyrus' dads pick Risa up, and take her back to their commune. All people who have a part of Tyler Walker, that now live together, and think they have put him back together. Eventually Risa is able to leave there, and sets out to find someone left in the ADR (Anti-Divisional Resistance).
Camus Comprix is the creation of scientists using nothing but unwind parts, 99 different peoples parts made into one being. He fell in love with Risa while she was there, and wants to do anything to get her back. When he learns that the Proactive Citizenry has basically sold him to the military, like an object, and not a person he decides he won't go. He starts out with the plan to capture Connor, and turn him in, buying himself enough power to negotiate the contract. He plans on bringing PC down in order to win Risa back. Unfortunately he has Wil's hands, and some of his memories. He sees Lev at the reservation, and knows that's where they will go. Once he arrives, Una takes him hostage after finding him playing one of the guitars. She is so devastated to have Wil's hands, and music but not have him she almost kills him. Connor realizes she is hiding something and follows her to where she is keeping him. They decide to leave a few days ahead of Cam in order to throw him off of their location, until he overhears them discussing where they are headed. Then Connor is forced to bring him along. Lev decides to stay at the reservation, and Connor, Grace, and Cam leave together.
Meanwhile Nelson, the parts pirate with a vendetta against Connor has hooked up with Argent. He knows the picture wasn't a fake like they all claimed it was. Argent thinks he is smart, and leads Nelson on a wild goose chase in order to see more of the country. Once Nelson figures it out, Argent reveals his ace in the hole. Grace used to wander off a lot, and so her parents had her implanted with a tracking chip. He agrees to give the info to Nelson, if he will teach him how to be a parts pirate.
Mason Starkey was one of the guys at the graveyard when it was attacked. Before then he had been gathering all of the storks, the adopted AWOL kids. During the attack he steals the only operating plane to carry him, and his storks to safety. At first they resorted to robbing out of the way gas stations to survive. He gets smart, and one of the tech kids steals a bunch of money from the kids parents. He buys them all t-shirts so they can pass as a bunch of kids on a field trip. His plans are to free a bunch of storks, but the sadistic bastard kills plenty of people while doing it. Hayden is one of the first rescued, and refuses to help with the tech, even though he has great ideas unless they do it his way. He devises a plan to rescue all of the kids without anyone getting hurt. They do this, but Starkey wants his name to be known. He lines up five adults, tells one lady his name, and what they are doing, and kills the other four. Most of the kids don't have the stomach for what he is doing, but are too scared to say anything. His second in command, Bam is really in love with him, but they have decided it won't work. When she finds out he has impregnated three of the girls she is furious. Then a helicopter descends on their cave hideout, extracting Starkey, and a guy offers him a deal. They will fund his project, as long as he continues what he is doing. What Starkey doesn't realize, is this person probably benefits from unwinding, and these teens terrorizing the nation only reinforces the peoples fear, and acquiescence to unwinding.
Once Connor, Grace, and Cam make it to Akron, and Sonia they find that Risa is there. The guys who were sort of getting along, are now at each others throats to win back her affection. She ends up choosing Connor, right before the military, and Roberta break down the door to get to Cam. Grace has proven invaluable on many occasions, and does on this one as well. She knows they are only looking for Cam, and hides the rest of them. They do only take him, and never realize who else is in the house. Cam doesn't say, and Roberta drops a bomb on him as they leave. She tells him that he has been wrong in some of his thinking, but she has an effective way of taking what's wrong in his mind and making it right.
Sonia reveals to Connor, Risa, and Grace that though they destroyed all of her husbands work, she hung on to one of the smaller prototypes of his second invention. She still has it now, and tells them how it works to rebuild the body, effectively dismissing the need for unwinding.

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

Review: Slow Dance in Purgatory

Slow Dance in Purgatory
Slow Dance in Purgatory by Amy Harmon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Slow Dance in Purgatory was a bit strange. The plot was interesting enough that I wanted to finish it, but I can't say I loved it.
Maggie lost her parents when she was ten, and spent several years being shuffled around to different foster families. She ends up living permanently with her great aunt in Texas, finally having a home again. While working her part time job helping clean the high school she attends, she learns of a fifty year old mystery that still haunts their small town. Meeting the man, who's now a ghost that is at the center of this mystery isn't as surprising as it should be. Maggie has always been able to see ghosts, though usually she isn't able to interact with them. Seeing the ghosts of people long dead, repeating an endless loop of things they had done in life, isn't nearly as exciting as falling in love with a man only she can see.

Maggie & Johnny develop a fast friendship. He hasn't had an opportunity to speak with anyone in fifty years, and she doesn't exactly have a lot of friends. Their friendship develops into love, but it's something she must keep a secret. Johnny knows that Maggie shouldn't love him. He is bound to the school where he died, and can never leave. He tries to distance himself from her, but the two of them can't seem to stay away from each other. He does finally pull away from her for good, knowing that it's in her best interest to get over him and move on. Her friend Shad gets himself into trouble trying to impress some of the older, cool kids. He gets his grandfathers key to the school after convincing the other kids it's haunted. They make him think he is a part of their group long enough to gain access, and then stuff him in a locker. After what seems like forever he is finally able to get to his phone and dial Maggie's number. She heads up to the school immediately. While the others were messing around with a Ouija board, and drinking a few beers they unintentionally set a fire that quickly gets out of control. They all take off, forgetting the kid they left in the locker. Maggie pulls up to the school in flames, and is horrified to think that Shad is trapped inside. She goes in, knowing that if she can get to Johnny he can help her. He tells her to stay put while he gets Shad, but she is lured away by the ghost of Roger, her great grandmothers deceased husband, who was involved in Johnny's death. She sees how Johnny dies, and is almost there herself. Roger tells her to let go, that she can join Johnny and be with him forever. Johnny finds her just in time, and takes her as far out as he can. He can never go past the doors of the school, but is able to get her to safety where she is quickly found and taken away by the ambulance. While still in a coma at the hospital, Johnny's body is found among the rubble, with a gunshot wound from fifty years ago, and an unsteady pulse. He too is taken to the hospital, but only Gus, Shad's uncle, recognizes him. He tells Maggie that Johnny is alive, and that he will need her once he wakes up. Somewhere lost in her coma she hears him, and forces herself to wake up. To be continued in book two.

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Review: Ugly Love

Ugly Love
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ugly Love = Ugly Face.. You know when you're crying so hard you have to take great gulping breaths just to get enough to fill your lungs? I think the correct term is sobbing, and the dictionary describes it as convulsive gasps. Sounds like a pretty accurate description of myself while reading the last quarter of Ugly Love.
Miles only has two rules for his friends little sister. Never ask about the past, and don't expect a future. Tate agrees, thinking she can handle their sex only agreement. She is incredibly busy with her job, and school. She doesn't have time for love. She tries to keep her distance, but the more time they spend with one another, the deeper she feels for him. Every time Tate even suggests something personal, Miles slams his walls back into place. She knows she deserves better than the guy who refuses to be anything more than a few hours good time, but she can't stop seeing him. Miles knows Tate is developing feelings beyond their mutual attraction. The right thing to do would be to walk away. He knows he'll never love again, and it's safer that way. Like Tate, he understands the consequences of continuing to see each other, but he can't walk away.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Review: The Law of Moses

The Law of Moses
The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Law of Moses had only been out a few days, and already it was recommended to me by two people. That was enough for me to move it to the top of my list. I am so glad I did!

After finishing I was completely overwhelmed by the characters, the book, the tragedy, and the love. It was truly an amazing experience as a reader. These kind of books don't come around often, but when they do it reminds me why reading is my favorite pastime. I try to be a little stingy with my five stars, but there was no question when rating this book. Get your tissues ready, because I was a mess.. but the best kind of mess.
I loved everything about the characters, all of them. I loved that Georgia was strong, confident, sassy, and determined to do what it took to get what she wanted. She didn't seem the least bit self conscious about the fact that Moses had basically told her to hit the road. I guess she saw in him something that made her want to fight. Moses, oh he broke my heart. If he were real I would have given him a hug. He needed it, and Georgia was willing to be there for him. The Law of Moses was true to real life though, because we don't always get what we want.

Not only did Georgia & Moses lose one another, but Moses lost his GiGi, the only stable thing in his life. He also lost out on the birth, and short life of his son Eli. Y'all I was bawling like my own kid died. It was heart wrenching what happened to Eli, that Georgia felt responsible, and that Moses missed out on the little time he had. I loved little Eli, and I couldn't help but picture my own boys when they were small. Moses' abilities were completely unexpected. I'm glad Harmon gave that to him, and let us witness the little time he had with Eli.

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