Reached by Ally Condie

Title: Reached
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Penguin/Dutton
Publication Date: November 13, 2012
Source: Purchased

From Goodreads:

After leaving Society to desperately seek The Rising, and each other, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again. Cassia is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again.

Reached brings the Matched trilogy to its conclusion. I loved the first two books a lot so naturally I was very nervous to be entering in on the final part in its journey. What I found was a book worth my time with characters so wonderfully developed that it brings the “love triangle” to a close in the most natural organic way I think I’ve ever read before.
Everything has been leading up to this moment, the moment when the Society will be overthrown. Our three characters are separated when the Rising finally takes place. What’s really cool about this is that we get to see three totally different views on the uprising. Three different regions, three different people doing three different jobs. I loved it! My only complaint that I have with this is…what was Cassia doing the entire time? The two boys both had jobs assigned to them by the Rising, but Cassia spends a lot of time doing something I am pretty certain was not officially sanctioned. That just seemed odd to me.
Right away I knew there was something off about the plague…but it turned out that the book didn’t go as sinister as I was thinking in my head which was totally cool. I honestly thought for a very long time that the Rising was actually the Society and that the Society was trying to kill most of its people in a purge…yeah…not entirely what happened.
I really enjoyed Xander’s story and felt like he was really the shining star. I feel like between the three of them, Xander has the most growth in his person and in his storyline.
He sees first hand every single day the effects the plague has on people. Cassia introduces people to creative thinking, or at least gives them a venue where they can display it, and Ky flies the medicine in and out of place, but Xander is really the one on the front lines. That, to me, has got to be the hardest job, especially when the plague mutates.
I won’t spoil how the “love triangle” is dealt with, but I truly feel like the three of them don’t even have a real triangle. It’s always obvious and true that Cassia loves Ky, she loves Xander too, but not in the same way. I think all of the characters know it including Xander, even if he doesn’t want to admit it to himself. In some other books I have read one of the guys literally dies in order to force the girls hand or the guy does some terrible out of character act that makes the girl finally see what choice she needs to make. I was so happy this book did not do that and instead focused on more realistic, natural ways to bring that to a close.
Overall I really enjoyed this book!


Dream Me by Kathryn Berla

Title: Dream Me
Author: Kathryn Berla
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Source: Netgalley

From Goodreads

Zat is a dreamer from the distant future—a time when humans no longer dream and Earth is a desolate wasteland. He dreams of the beautiful Earth of the past, and a fiery-haired beauty named Babe. Against the wisdom of his peers, Zat decides to risk everything to travel back in time and live in Babe’s dreams…

Babe is the perpetual new girl in town. Her father’s job frequently moves the family around the country, and Babe just longs for a place to call home. As she settles into the sleepy town of Sugar Dunes, Florida, Babe begins to have strange dreams of a green-eyed boy named Zat. Night after night, Babe shows Zat her world. But the dreams come at the cost of nearly crippling migraines every morning. Babe’s life outside of her dreams pales in comparison to her growing love for Zat and their time spent together.

But the more time Babe and Zat spend together in her dreams, the more Babe’s pain increases, and Zat begins to question the reality of his existence. How can he live a life with Babe, when all they have is her dreams?

Can a dream become a reality?

It’s kind of hard to review Dream Me. I really did not enjoy this book so it’s kind of hard to describe it. I guess I can just break down the description. I have to admit that I skimmed the latter half of this book, but still feel like I missed absolutely nothing.

“Zat is a dreamer from the distant future—a time when humans no longer dream and Earth is a desolate wasteland. He dreams of the beautiful Earth of the past, and a fiery-haired beauty named Babe. Against the wisdom of his peers, Zat decides to risk everything to travel back in time and live in Babe’s dreams…”

Okay so right here I am thinking ‘oh this is cool, he’s from the future earth and it’s dying and he somehow he dreams of the past. Maybe he has some sort of magical powers that lets him see things from the past. And cool he can time travel how awesome…wait…he lives in her dreams? I don’t know what that means, but maybe it won’t be weird.’
We only get to see a brief glimpse of this future earth and it’s a terrible glimpse. There isn’t a whole lot of world building, there’s an attempt to describe the world that he lives in, but it isn’t very rich and skims on the surface of what it’s actually like. I think that fleshing out Zat’s world, showing him interacting more with people that from his own time, letting us learn who Zat really is could have done a wonder for this book.

“Babe is the perpetual new girl in town. Her father’s job frequently moves the family around the country, and Babe just longs for a place to call home. As she settles into the sleepy town of Sugar Dunes, Florida, Babe begins to have strange dreams of a green-eyed boy named Zat.”

Okay let’s look at this; this introduction here tells me that there are going to be alternating POV’s in the book. Okay cool, I’ve had really great success recently with these kinds of books recently. We meet this girl named Babe and learn about her background and based on her father’s career I thought this took place in the near future, but then nothing in this book really follows up on that. The highlight of the book is honestly the description of Sugar Dunes, Florida. It seems to be the only thing that is described in depth in this book.
The two different narrations don’t really work in this book, they are uneven and don’t shine for either character. We spend most of the time with Babe, but everything is so superficial and I never ever get a sense of who Babe really is. She comes off as really juvenile and immature and her conversations just don’t feel natural. We don’t get a sense of her beyond the surface. Fleshing out both of these characters would have brought the book to life.

“Night after night, Babe shows Zat her world. But the dreams come at the cost of nearly crippling migraines every morning. Babe’s life outside of her dreams pales in comparison to her growing love for Zat and their time spent together.
But the more time Babe and Zat spend together in her dreams, the more Babe’s pain increases, and Zat begins to question the reality of his existence. How can he live a life with Babe, when all they have is her dreams?
Can a dream become a reality?”

This is where the premise of this book becomes way too strange for me. Zat is a time traveler who really just takes over people’s mind hence showing up in Babe’s dreams. He invades her mind without her knowing or her approval and then she ends of falling in love with him. This is not okay with me. It rubs me the wrong way and it creeps me out. It’s no different than her being held against her will and then falling in love with the man who does it. He should not have just entered her mind without her knowing and honestly even if she gave permission, the fact that she doesn’t even understand the future’s method of time traveling would have made it super unrealistic and weird. Even the ending of the book when he shows up for real is strange and it doesn’t work for me.

The best stories, no matter what their genre, are grounded in reality. They show real struggles, real emotions, and real decisions. This book doesn’t do that. If it tried, then it failed. There are other things that I disliked about this book, but I will just still with the ones already listed. This is not a book that I would recommend.

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

I am taking part in a new meme hosted by What’s Beyond Forks? where we take a book that’s been on our TBR list and we review it!


Title: Better Off Friends
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Publisher: Point
Publication date: February 25, 2014
Source: Purchased

From Goodreads

For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

I have been on an unusual contemporary kick recently and so Better Off Friends seemed like a good book to read. I actually saw it on Twitter and went faith that it would be a good read. Unfortunately, I was mistaken.
I really wanted to love this book. Like I REALLY wanted to enjoy it. This book is about two friends who met in middle school and are instant best friends. I had no idea when I started the book that this was going to start off in middle school with preteens. Honestly I did not need to know that much backstory. A simple flash about the moment they met would have been enough or even just a comment thrown into their conversation.
Such a huge chunk of this book was needless and it almost turned me off completely. I went onto Goodreads to see if they ever got to high school and when I discovered they did I decided to keep going. This book has its really great parts, mostly the banter between Macallan and Levi and that was something that held me on through most of the book and I thought that the instant messaging/texts between the two were a good shining moment.
The language and personalities of these characters does not change throughout the book and that was such a huge issue for me. I would expect growth from a book that spans so many years, but there was none. The character’s issues were immature and not what I’ve come to expect from the YA books that have become so popular. Young adult novels get more sophisticated every year and in order to keep up they all need to be written on a high level and this book was just not up to standard. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone unless you have some time to waste.

Safe and Sound by Alli Hope

Title: Safe and Sound
Author: Alli Hope
Publisher: Elphantine Publishing
Publication Date: February 22, 2017
Source: Purchased

From Goodreads

16 year-old, Hailey Perish, knows her life can’t get much worse. Since her dad split a few years ago, Hailey’s mother has spiraled hard and fast, careening toward rock bottom and threatening to take her daughter down with her. Hailey now marks time by evictions, her mother’s poker games, and Saturday School where she voluntarily shows up for weekend detentions to secure her one promised meal of the week. She has no room for relationships, especially with someone like her childhood love and junior class golden boy, Carson Hart. Hailey trusted him once and Carson failed her. She’s determined not to let herself be hurt again.

When Hailey’s mom does the unthinkable and bets her own daughter in a high stakes poker game, Mitch, the loan shark, is all too eager and determined to collect on his debt. To him, Hailey is nothing but property. His property. And he’ll do anything to recover it. On the run from a fate that promises a much worse life than she already knows, there’s only one person in the world Hailey can call for help.

Will Carson be there for her in her darkest hour and deliver her from harm’s way safe and sound? Or will he abandon Hailey—just like he’s always done—just like they all do?

Alli Hope’s debut novel delivers an unforgettable story about love & surviving in the dark places. Safe & Sound contains mature situations and content.

Safe and Sound by Alli Hope is a heart wrenching story that follows Hailey on a mission to find her father after her mother loses a bet that lands her in the hands of human traffickers. Backed into an impossible situation, Hailey turned to the one person she knows she can always count on, Carson. The childhood best friends have drifted apart over the last six years, but they have never forgotten each other. When rumors bound around school about Hailey, Carson is always there to punch someone out…literally.
Alli Hope writes Hailey’s relationship with her mother in a way that completely shattered my heart. She loves her mother so much and does nothing by try to protect her even though her mother literally gambles away Hailey’s life. And the way she thinks of her father, as if this man who abandoned her years ago is going to show up and be this shining star in her life is absolutely heartbreaking. It shattered me so much that I had to put the book down for a little bit and then get back story when I had taped it back together a little bit.
The journey itself in the story isn’t about the road trip, not really, instead it’s about Hailey trying to figure out what she deserves in life. After years of watching over her mother, being harassed by one of her mom’s many boyfriends, working her butt off to make sure they always have a home to live in she sets out on this journey where she has to come to terms with the fact that she is important to.
I really truly feel like this journey of self-discovery and reliance is the true journey of this book. Yes, Caron has his own narration too, but it all comes together and revolves around Hailey.
Another thing that Alli Hope shows in this novel is human trafficking. This is a horrific thing that is so widespread and happens every single day, every single hour and moment, but doesn’t have the well-known attention that it deserves. What’s scary is that Mitch is able to control people with money so easily. This is how this can all occur in real life. One of the most lucrative trades throughout time is the buying and selling of human beings. Money can buy you a lot of things and it can also buy you obedience and silence. This book only gives just a tiny miniscule glimpse into the underground world of human trafficking, but it was enough to leave an impact.
If you’re looking for a gritty contemporary with a tiny bit of romance flung in then this book is for you!