It’s been a while since I did a Standalone Sunday! It’s back for this week!
What is Standalone Sunday?
Each Sunday bloggers feature a standalone book (one that is not part of a series) that they loved or would recommend. The standalone can also be one you want to read. There is so much focus on books that are part of a series that standalone books seem to be forgotten. They can be just as great as book series!
My selection for this week is Eleanor & Park.
Published: Feburary 26, 2013
One extraordinary love.
Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.
Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
I have not read Eleanor & Park and from the reviews I have seen of it that this is one you either like or don’t. Have You read Eleanor & Park? Was it for you or not?
Today Kim reviews The UnWind series by Neal Schusterman. I am sure you all know by now how much she loves him! He is becoming a favorite author of hers.
The UnWind Series by Neal Shusterman
Books in the Series:
Series Summary Description:
After the Second Civil War, the Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. However, a loophole allows parents to retroactively get rid of a teenager through a process called “unwinding.”
Three teens defy the system and run away from their unwinding: Connor, a rebel whose parents have ordered his unwinding; Risa, a ward of the state who is to be unwound due to cost-cutting; and Lev, his parents’ tenth child whose unwinding has been planned since birth as a religious tithing.
As their paths intersect and lives hang in the balance, Connor, Risa, and Lev must work together to survive—and they may change the fate of America in the process.
Published: June 2, 2009
In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would “unwind” them. Connor’s parents want to be rid of him because he’s a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev’s unwinding has been planned since his birth, as part of his family’s strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance. If they can survive until their eighteenth birthday, they can’t be harmed — but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a world gone mad, eighteen seems far, far away.
Published: August 28, 2012
Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa—and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp—people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens while simultaneously providing much-needed organs for transplanting might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand to the unwinding of prisoners and the impoverished. Cam is made entirely out of the parts of other unwinds; he is a teen who does not technically exist. A futuristic Frankenstein, Cam struggles to find identity and meaning and wonders if a rewound being can have a soul. And when the actions of a sadistic bounty hunter cause Cam’s fate to become inextricably bound with the fates of Connor, Risa, and Lev, he’ll have to question humanity itself.
Published: October 15, 2013
Connor and Lev are on the run after the destruction of the Graveyard, the last safe haven for AWOL Unwinds. But for the first time, they’re not just running away from something. This time, they’re running towards answers, in the form of a woman Proactive Citizenry has tried to erase from history itself. If they can find her, and learn why the shadowy figures behind unwinding are so afraid of her, they may discover the key to ending the unwinding process forever. Cam, the rewound boy, is plotting to take down the organization that created him. He knows that if he can bring Proactive Citizenry to its knees, it will show Risa how he truly feels about her. And without Risa, Cam is having trouble remembering what it feels like to be human. With the Juvenile Authority and vindictive parts pirates hunting them, their paths will converge explosively—and everyone will be changed.
Published: October 14, 2014
Proactive Citizenry, the company that created Cam from the parts of unwound teens, has a plan: to mass produce rewound teens like Cam for military purposes. And below the surface of that horror lies another shocking level of intrigue: Proactive Citizenry has been suppressing technology that could make unwinding completely unnecessary. As Conner, Risa, and Lev uncover these startling secrets, enraged teens begin to march on Washington to demand justice and a better future. But more trouble is brewing. Starkey’s group of storked teens is growing more powerful and militant with each new recruit. And if they have their way, they’ll burn the harvest camps to the ground and put every adult in them before a firing squad—which could destroy any chance America has for a peaceful future.
Published: December 15, 2015
Find out what happens to Connor, Risa, and Lev now that they’ve finally destroyed the Proactive Citizenry in this collection of short stories set in the world of the New York Timesbestselling Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman. Connor Lassiter’s fight to bring down Proactive Citizenry and find a suitable alternative to unwinding concluded in UnDivided. Now Connor, Risa, and Lev are free to live in a peaceful future—or are they? Neal Shusterman brings back his beloved Unwind characters for his fans to see what’s left for those who were destined to be unwound.
Kim’s Rating of the Series: 4.8 stars
Kim’s Review of the Series:
This series blew me away! Neal Shusterman is easily becoming one of my all time favorite authors. He manages to bring in philosophy without being pompous and boring. He takes controversial issues, keeps to neutral ground, and shows the reasoning behind both sides. You start out knowing exactly which side of the issue that you’re on, but then find yourself agreeing with some of the reasoning behind the other side. I didn’t think anything could top the Scythe series, but this one did.
I love Connor, Risa, and Lev so much. They are teens who start out with narrow viewpoints, as regular annoying teens and then are thrown into very adult situations, and they shine! The supporting characters are believable and fit the story perfectly. There are several rabbit trails that branched off of each story, but they were simple and easy to follow and keep track of. And as I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that there’s a decimal up top in the rating. This was a difficult one to rate, mostly because I wanted so badly to give 5 stars. There were very small things that I didn’t like, a little teenage drama within the series, and some weaker short stories in UnBound that kept me from giving a perfect score. But overall, I loved this series, and I think this is the perfect series for teens. I might even be giving this series out as Christmas and birthday gifts this year! I would absolutely recommend this series to everybody![Top]
Today Kim reviews The Merciless Series by Danielle Vega. The series is currently composed of three novels with a fourth coming out later this year! The information on it will be provided below and came from Goodreads. The Merciless Series by Danielle Vega
Books in the Series:
The Merciless II: The Exorcism of Sofia Flores
The Merciless III: Origins of Evil
Descriptions from Amazon:
Published: June 12, 2014
Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream. Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.
Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls…unless she wants to be next. By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?
The Merciless II: The Exorcism of Sofia Flores
Published: July 5, 2016
Sofia is still processing the horrific truth of what happened when she and three friends performed an exorcism that spiraled horribly out of control. Ever since that night, Sofia has been haunted by bloody and demonic visions. Her therapist says they’re all in her head, but to Sofia they feel chillingly real. She just wants to get out of town, start fresh someplace else . . . until her mother dies suddenly, and Sofia gets her wish. Sofia is sent to St. Mary’s, a creepy Catholic boarding school in Mississippi.
There, seemingly everyone is doing penance for something, most of all the mysterious Jude, for whom Sofia can’t help feeling an unshakeable attraction. But when Sofia and Jude confide in each other about their pasts, something flips in him. He becomes convinced that Sofia is possessed by the devil. . . . Is an exorcism the only way to save her eternal soul? Readers won’t be able to look away from this terrifying read full of twists and turns that will leave them wondering, Is there evil in all of us?
The Merciless III: Origins of Evil
Published: July 11, 2017
Brooklyn knows that there’s no good without evil, no right without wrong. And when a helpless girl calls her teen helpline, whispering that someone is hurting her, Brooklyn knows that she needs to save her anonymous caller, even if it means doing something bad. Her parents and friends assure her the call was probably a prank—but Brooklyn has always had a tendency to take over, whether someone has asked for help or not. She discovers the call came from Christ First Church and finds herself plunged into the cultish community of its youth group. She’s especially drawn to Gavin, the angelic yet tortured pastor’s son. Torn between an unstoppable attraction to Gavin and her obsession with the truth, Brooklyn is forced to make a devastating choice to rid Christ Church of evil once and for all. . . . But the devil has plans for Brooklyn’s soul.
Series reviewed by: Kim
Kim’s rating of the series: 4 stars
I really enjoyed this series! It satisfied my horror craving, without being overly predictable. The characters were interesting and relatively relatable. I hated the people I was supposed to hate and sympathized with the characters I was supposed to sympathize with. I liked how Vega captured the duality of humanity. Yes, there is black and white in this life, but mostly, there’s a whole lot of gray! The reason I’m giving this series 4 stars is because 1. The suspension of disbelief wore a little thin by the time I got to the third book, and 2. I just hate teenagers. To be fair, the teenagers in this series fit the story very well, but I can’t help reverting back to my feelings of annoyance because teenagers are obnoxious and stupid. 😊 As for the suspension of disbelief, apparently exorcisms happen quite often in Mississippi! How many exorcisms happen in one group of people?? That was the only predictable part of this series.
Vega did add several twists that surprised the heck out of me! At first, Vega’s view of Christianity bothered me, as a Christian, but then I thought about most of the Christians I know personally, and while her descriptions are by no means the norm, she has the number of some of us! I liked that the books aren’t huge, so I was able to read the series in less than a week. I like this series a lot and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a creepy read. I would save this for older teens, there is language and some adult themes, but I think most older teens would enjoy this series.
There will be a fourth book in the Merciless series! All information on this upcoming novel comes from Goodreads:
The Merciless IV: Last Rites
Expected Publication: June 12th 2018
The fourth book of the scream-worthy cult series The Merciless combines Stephen King level terror with true crime stories like the Amanda Knox case.
The ropes tighten on Berkley Hubbard’s wrists. Blood drips down her fingers and lands with a smack on the cold floor of the church basement. She’s trapped, bound, and petrified by fear. A knife punctures her fragile skin as Berkley’s captors search for the mark of the devil on her body. They say they want to save her–drive the devil away and cleanse her soul–but will she make it out alive?
When Berkley arrived in Italy a week ago, the last thing she expected was that she’d end up fighting for her life. After spending six months at the Institute, confined to a room with the dangerous-yet-alluring Sofia Flores, Berkley was certain that a vacation in Italy with her two best friends would be the perfect getaway. But Berkley is hiding a terrible secret, one that threatens to undo everything. As she’s forced to face her wicked past, she learns that the devil is always watching, and no one is coming to save her.[Top]