Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Review: Divergent

Title - Divergent 
Author - Veronica Roth
Series - Divergent #1
Genre - YA Dystopia
Format - Paperback
Published -February 28th 2012


In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Beatrice lives in a world divided by five factions on her sixteenth birthday she will choose her faction that will change her life forever. A test is used to help her in the choice but with her the test doesn’t work. It’s extremely rare and dangerous so the evaluator pretends it doesn’t happen and tells Beatrice to keep it a secret. When the time comes for Beatrice to choose instead of staying with her parents she chooses Dauntless (the brave) which instantly launches her into a fight for her place. In order to become a Dauntless after the initiation process she will have to fight, jump onto moving trains and learn to beat the simulations that will give away she’s Divergent.

As Beatrice reinvents herself in her new life she changes her name to Tris even getting tattoos to honor who she is. Tris makes friends only to have them taken away as they leave the program left to be faction less. Beatrice struggles with the fact that her brother has also chosen not to stay with her parents. Her parents have always been Abnegation even if her mother was born Dauntless.  When she has the chance to have visitors it’s her mother who shows up asking her to pass a message to her brother. Tris can’t forget what her mother asked. Even though she’s kept it a secret someone knows what really happened, and is looking for the Divergent. She’s worried that her secret will get out risk the ones she loves.

I think Beatrice is an interesting character tossed into a world with that appears perfect but really isn’t. She’s Divergent that alone would demand her death but when the tester tells her to keep it a secret to save her life she does. She’s easy to connect with, you can’t help liking her as a character and getting lost in her story. I like Four he’s a great complement to Tris even if he is a little older you can't help liking him. They have a sweet relationship. 

The movie is just around the corner. I’ve been on the fence for a long time since Divergent has so much hype I didn’t want to buy into it. Divergent is captivating from start to finish it’s a fast paced story that kept me on the edge of my seat. I like Tris she’s easy to connect with, you can’t help falling into her story. Divergent was one of those books you can’t get enough of I know I had a hard time putting it down, even stayed up into the late hours just to finish because I wanted to see what would happen next. I found the concept for the book intriguing the idea of separating people based on who they really are is new but I can see why it won’t work. The author has done a fantastic job creating a story that teens as well as adults will fall in love with.  I think the author’s writings style is easy to read and flows along smoothly making it easy to get lost for hours. I can’t believe I waited so long to join the masses and fall in love with the series. I’ve just ordered book 2 and 3 just so I can see how this series will end. I’m dying to see how the movie plays out. I really loved the first one and look forward to the next one. 
5 out of 5 stars

December 2013 Re-cap

December 2013 Re-cap
What happened in December at The Reading Diaries

Lots of holiday time. I didn't get nearly as much reading done this month as I would have liked. I did read several great books this month.

Divergent by Veronica Roth (Review)
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (Review)
Ice by Sarah Beth Durst (Review)
Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead (Review)
Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead (Review)
Blood Promise by Richelle Mead (Review)
Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead (Review)
Christmas Kismet by Jemma Grey (Review)
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (Review)
Frostbite by Richelle Mead (Review)

January Reading List

I'm hoping to read 25 books this month but this is my main pull from list. It covers many challenges and includes lots of review books.

Do you plan ahead for the next month? 

I didn't have very many tour/blasts or cover reveals in my attempt to have a quiet end of the year. As you can see real life was busy I didn't get as many books read but I have high hopes.

Do you have a big list of books you want to read in 2014?

Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday!
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke And The Brookish. Who doesn't love lists. They make life easy! And fun!! It's always a never ending topic.

This week's topic:
Top ten books I read in 2013

I read so many awesome books this year picking 10 is really hard to do but I will do my best.

1. Marking Time by April White (Goodreads) I really enjoyed the first book in this exciting new series. I'm impatiently waiting for the next book in the series.

2 Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead (Review) I read them all this year Loved them all.

3. Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst (Review) An awesome vampire story mixed with unicorns.

4. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (Review) I just finished this one but enjoyed it.

5. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (Review) This one was a pleasant surprise.

6. PODs by Michelle K. Pickett (Review) I'm a sucker for a good zombie book.

7. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman (Review) I loved the story it was hard to put down.

8. Scorched by Mari Mancusi (Review) My new favorite dragon book.

9. Romancing the Bookworm by Kate Evangelista (Review)

10. The Selection by Kiera Cass (Review) I've read the second one and I'm dying for the final book.

What's your top ten?

Cover Characteristic - Ice

Cover Characteristic - Ice
 Hosted by Sugar & Snark

Each week we will post 5 of our favorite covers to go with the theme of the week. 
I'm a huge cover fan so this is a great meme for me.

With all the lack of snow in California this winter.I spent a hour looking for covers with Ice and didn't come up with any really. So I'm going to grind up some ice and make snow. I'm cheating a little but my covers this week could be icy in the early morning =D


Ice by Sarah Beth Durst (Goodreads) Also fantastic book by the way.
A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr (Goodreads)
It Started with a Kiss by Miranda Dickinson (Goodreads)
Fairytale of New York by Miranda Dickinson (Goodreads)

My favorite 

Starry Night by Debbie Macomber (Goodreads)

What's on your list?

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday December 31st 2013

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

~Grab your current read
~Open to a random page
~Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on the page
~BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! ( make sure that what you share doesn't give away too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
~Share the title & author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

I'm currently reading Divergent. Well listening to my kindle read it while I'm working on my posts. Hoping to finish today so I can start the new year with all new books. 

Veronica Roth

At first I wasn't sure but now I'm sucked in. 

I’ve never heard of them before, but the name is self-explanatory. I laugh.
 “Everyone grab a gun!” shouts Eric. 
We rush toward the pile. I am the closest to it, so I snatch the first gun I can find, which is heavy, but not too heavy for me to lift, and grab a box of paintballs. I shove the box in my pocket and sling the gun across my back so the strap crosses my chest. box in my pocket and sling the gun across my back so the strap crosses my chest. 
“Time estimate?” Eric asks Four.
 Four checks his watch. “Any minute now. How long is it going to take you to memorize the train schedule?” 
“Why should I, when I have you to remind me of it?” says Eric, shoving Four’s shoulder.

What are you reading today? The last day of 2013? 

The Secrets Kept Tour Grand Finale!

The Secrets Kept Tour Grand Finale!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The Secrets Kept Tour Grand Finale!

This tour explored the World of Nälu: 
Where a story with adventure, action, love, betrayal, and a quest takes place.
We visited sites, learned more about the cuisine, and were introduced to some fantastical characters.

12/9: Launch

12/10: Kelly P’s Blog - Guest Post

The five must see places of Western Nälu

The Nations of Nälu welcomes you to the western region of Nälu. Home to the elves, two of the dwarf clans, and the humans. Most likely you came by ship, so we will start with the beautiful land of Zurial...

What is a visit to a new land without exploring some of the cuisine? I don’t know about you, but I LOVE food and discovering new favorites. If you’ve been by my Facebook page, you probably have guessed that. Ha! Well, here in Nälu we have quite a variety. Today we’ll just look at a few favorites...

12/12: fundinmental - Guest Post

In the course of edits, Secrets Kept lost the opening chapter where we catch a glimpse of the Sacred Pearl. Hopefully, I’ll be able to share that scene with you all one of these days. But later in the story, we learn that the Sacred Pearl was kidnapped during the attack on Dagmar, the headquarters of the Guardians.

But what is so special about the Pearl?

12/13: Next Page Reviews - Review

This book is amazing! It's a gorgeous fantasy with lots of action-packed scenes and spellbinding paranormal and fantasy elements. It's a quick read (I need more!!) and is a definite page turner. It's unique, original, and gorgeously written, perfectly for any lover of good, descriptive fantasy.

12/13: Giveaway Breaking News - Guest Post

The defeat of Lord Stygian released the people, breaking the hold of the Tainted One, but she vowed to return. Who would stop her then? Who should rule the nations? What will become of the giants? Can they be trusted? The questions gave way to chaos, but Karasi, one of the lost rulers of Zohar, long imprisoned by the Tainted One and Stygian, brought peace again and established the first Guardian Circle. They were charged with guiding and teaching of the nations, so that history would never repeat itself, and the nations would never have to endure another oppressive rule such as Lord Stygian’s again...

12/15: Colorimetry - Review of Desert Rose

"This is an intro to how JL Mbewe's stories aren't all peachy happy endings, necessarily, how she delivers an entire world, finished and beautiful, with minimal words. With one short story, she gained a fan-for-life with me. (I'm stubborn, too... you're stuck with me now, JL!!) I love this book!!"

12/16: Katie’s Clean Book Collection - Guest Post

On the northern edge of the Prathae Plains lies an ancient forest. Wisps of a grey mist ooze between bent and wrinkled trees. Silvery cobwebs sway loosely among their twisting limbs like tattered curtains of the dead. A force lingers at the edge of the forest like the foul stench of a beast.

It breathes of dark magic and death...

12/17: Deal Sharing Aunt - Guest Post

Mystery surrounds the corrupted dagger of Raemoja, of course, those who created it, wouldn’t call it that.

Only the dwarves know how to “corrupt” a blade, strengthening it against things not of this world, but the dwarves did not make this dagger.

The dagger is a tool, and we cannot talk about the tool without learning about the one who crafted it...

12/19: I Am A Reader, Not A Writer - Guest Post

When Nälu was known as Talesri, there were only two dwarf clans. Klovan and Igazin, and they both spoke Tarôc...

During Stygian’s reign, the Klovan maintained a strong defense against the dwäza raids, but much of Stygian’s focus was on the Igazin...

[The Stozic's] capital city, Ta’vazi, is built right into the side of the mountain much like the ancient city of Petra in Jordan...

"I definitely found the title a perfect fit for the story. The MC, Ayianna, has had some secrets kept from her and then in turn must keep her own...

Overall, this was a good story. I really wanted to understand more about the prophecy and dagger and the role that Ayianna and her fellow companions will play, but I'll have to wait until the next book to learn more."

12/22: Mortal Moments - Guest Post

There are three distinct ethnic groups of elves in Nälu. The Esusamor, Saryhemor, and Wofsemor. They speak the common tongue of Nälu, their dialect of Zjótharyn, and most of the older generations are familiar with the ancient language of Táchil. Aside from the merfolk, they are the longest living beings in Nälu...

12/23: alwaysjoart - Guest Post

The feline shape-shifting race of Nälu: The Haruzo are split into two ethnic groups: The Plarzo in Bonzapur and the Rugazo in the mountainous region of Arashel...

Go to alwaysjoart to also listen to two songs representative of the music from Secrets Kept.

12/24: Mel’s Shelves - Review

If you enjoy fantasy, this is the beginning of a great series and I'm personally looking forward to reading the next book!

My Rating=5 Stars

12/26: Zerina Blossom - Guest Post

Across many watery miles and treacherous seas, is a land of mystery, great beauty, and wonder. Ragged mountains emerge from the depths and loom over lush, colorful gardens. Home to the glowing moonflower, healing waters, and dragons.

Here, you will find the Kaleki. The Sea-people. Otherwise known as the merfolk...

"Secrets Kept by J.L. Mbewe is a refreshingly brilliant and utterly sizzling beginning to an astounding epic adventure that emphasizes the innate desire in all of us to do what we fear the most – to truly live life to the fullest. I absolutely loved this story!"

12/29: Fictionally - Review

"I really liked the story, over all. I found it engaging enough that there were not many slow spots in it , which is good cause I read most of it in one weekend so I could have the review up by today.There's also fantastical creatures galore!"

12/30: Dalene’s Book Reviews - Review

"I really had fun reading this book. The characters were well developed and the world building was pretty good."

12/31: Grand Finale

FREE right now on 
Amazon and Barnes & Noble!
Desert Rose
(A Tale of Nälu #1)

Secrets KeptSecrets Kept 
by JL Mbewe
YA Fantasy
October 30th 2013 by AltWit Press

With a curse, she will build an army.
With the dagger, she will undo the last sacrifice.
But first the sorceress must find the secret keeper.

Torn from her homeland and thrust into a betrothal against her wishes, Ayianna learns her family has a deadly secret that now has her on the run. She joins forces with Kael, an embittered half-elf, and Saeed, an elderly High Guardian, to seek answers to her father’s death, the destruction of Dagmar, and the plains people’s bizarre behavior.

Ayianna discovers there is more at stake here than just her mother’s disappearance and her familial duty to her betrothed. The sorceress has cursed the plains people, and it is a race against time to release them before the sorceress resurrects an ancient evil.

Tales of Nalu

Desert Rose
A Tale of Nälu #1

First short story published March 2013

Set thirty some years before the opening scene of book one.

Can a desert princess find love with a foreign king?

Johari lives in the shadow of her beautiful sister until a foreign king notices her, but in her haste to prove herself worthy of affection she finds herself compromised and on a difficult journey to make things right.

Dragon-ThiefwebDragon Thief
A Tale of Nälu #2

What if all you knew had been a lie?

The teaching of the Guardians has guided Semine’s footsteps since her infancy. When her mentor shows up with information contrary to what she’s been taught, she doubts her decision to follow in their footsteps. She must decide if there is life beyond what she has always known or embrace a new, mysterious path and reject the Guardians’ legacy.

Available at Amazon. Coming soon to Barnes and Noble.

indestructible final (436x640)Indestructable
A Tale of Nälu #3

To what lengths would you go to the save the world?

Elothryn keeps the darkest secret of Nälu: The cursed dagger of Raemoja. A weapon powerful enough to release the greatest evil from the underworld. For generations, his family has lived without incident until now. The hunters have his scent and will stop at nothing to reclaim the dagger. Elothryn and his son flee, seeking help, but will they find it?

Available at Amazon. Coming soon to Barnes and Noble. 

NOW AVAILABLE: Tales of  Nälu (all three short stories in paperback) on Amazon!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00013]

Living life balanced between reality and dreams.

JL Mbewe - AuthorWriting as J. L. Mbewe, Jennette is an author, artist, mother, wife, but not always in that order. Born and raised in Minnesota, she now braves the heat of Texas, but pines for the Northern Lights and the lakes of home every autumn. She loves trying to capture the abstract and make it concrete. She has two short stories published in The Clockwork Dragon anthology, and is busily creating worlds inhabited by all sorts of fantasy creatures and characters, all questing about and discovering true love amid lots of peril. Her debut novel Secrets Kept and her short stories set in the world of Nälu: Desert Rose, Dragon Thief, and Indestructible are now available. She is currently living her second childhood with a wonderful husband and two precious children who don’t seem to mind her eclectic collections of rocks, shells, and books, among other things.

For more information about her journey as a writer mama and all things creative please visit her at:

Tour-Wide Giveaway

Kindle Fire Prize Pack (US/CAN ONLY), which includes:
- Kindle Fire
- Chocolate truffles
- Paper backs of Secrets Kept and Tales of Nälu
- Awesome swag (key chain, bookmark, and poster)
Ends January 7, 2014
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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