Series: The Book of Ivy #1
Published by Entangled Teen on 11/4/14
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, though some mention of mature topics like sexual assault)
After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.
This year, it is my turn.
My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.
But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.
Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…
When I heard that The Revolution of Ivy was being released, I knew it was time to pick up the first book – I’d bought it at the beginning of the year because I heard so many raving reviews of it, but I was holding off on actually reading it because I’d heard about that cliffhanger and I heard the series was a duology. I figured why not wait for the conclusion? And this was my chance!
Well, The Book of Ivy definitely lived up to my high expectations! This book had me turning the pages at a furious rate and I stayed up way too late reading it! The book follows Ivy, who has been told her whole life that her family’s enemy is her own. She’s known for the past two years that she would be marrying the president’s son – and that she would need to kill him.
What fed my addiction:
- Family ties. Ivy’s loyalty to her family has always been complete. She agrees wholeheartedly with her father’s beliefs. She knows that many of the president’s brutal and controlling policies need to be overturned. But she’s also never felt like enough for father and her sister. She feels like they’re waiting for her to fail – and so she can’t fail. The pressure that they’ve put on her is immense, and she’s completely determined not to let them down. She’s determined to help bring her father to power, because she knows that he’ll be a better leader than the president – and because she knows how important it is to her father and sister. Not only do they need her to bring the Westfall family into their rightful rule of their town, but they want her to help avenge her mother’s death as well. But, once Ivy goes to live with Bishop, she begins to realize that things might not be as cut and dry as she first thought – and that, while her father’s ideals are commendable, all of his actions may not be.
- Bishop. It would pretty much be impossible to read this book without falling in love with Bishop. He’s not perfect, but his heart is always in the right place. He realizes that his father’s policies have flaws and he does want things to change, but he also realizes that there are no easy answers and that change for the sake of change – without a plan for other ways to solve their society’s problems – will never work. (I love these sorts of moral quandaries where you can’t agree with a character’s actions, but you can also kind of understand how they got there – and there are no simple solutions!) Bishop is level-headed, solid, caring and loving – but it definitely takes Ivy awhile to realize it. The romance in this book is very slow-burning, but that made it so much better in my opinion! By the time Ivy and Bishop actually shared a kiss, I was begging for it!
- The ending. People weren’t kidding when they said this one ended on a cliffhanger! A lot happens at the end of the book that completely changes things. Luckily I didn’t have to wait for book two (and neither do you!!).
What left me wanting more:
- Family loyalty taken too far? There were times when I had a hard time understanding Ivy’s utter loyalty to her family. I mean, I understood the pressures that she felt and how much she wanted to please them, but when it came down to it, I couldn’t completely get behind her devotion to them through everything. Obviously that didn’t spoil my love of the book, though. (And I did find out that it led to some interesting results in book two …)
If you’re a fan of dystopians or a fan of YA romance and aren’t opposed to dystopians, I say pick this book up quick! (And then pick up the next one!) I give this book 4.5/5 stars.
If you haven’t read the first book, you might want to stop here and just skip down to Engel’s Top Ten Addictions list (which is lots of fun!). Even just the synopsis of book two contains spoilers for the first one, and I want you to be surprised like I was!!
Series: The Book of Ivy #2
Published by Entangled Teen on 11/3/15
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
My content rating: YA (Characters have sex, but it’s not shown; Some violence)
Ivy Westfall is beyond the fence and she is alone. Abandoned by her family and separated from Bishop Lattimer, Ivy must find a way to survive on her own in a land filled with countless dangers, both human and natural. She has traded a more civilized type of cruelty–forced marriages and murder plots–for the bare-knuckled brutality required to survive outside Westfall’s borders.
But there is hope beyond the fence, as well. And when Bishop reappears in Ivy’s life, she must decide if returning to Westfall to take a final stand for what she believes is right is worth losing everything she’s fought for.
Thank goodness I had this second book (which was the end to the duology) on hand as soon as I finished the first – I don’t know if I could have handled the wait!! This book picked up right where book one ended, with Ivy trying to survive life outside the fence. It isn’t easy, to say the least. The synopsis pretty much says it all, so I’m going to jump right into my review.
What fed my addiction:
- Survival of the fittest. Like all the best dystopians, the simple act of surviving is incredibly difficult. Not only does Ivy have to find shelter, food and water, but she also has to survive wild animal attacks – and the basest of humanity. At first, Ivy hopes she can start fresh outside of the fence, but she soon realizes that her past still haunts her, and she’s once again finding herself embroiled in lies. As always for Ivy, trust comes slowly – if at all. It doesn’t take long for Ivy to realize the brutality of the world she’s now in.
- Bishop! After reading the synopsis, I knew that Bishop was coming, but I didn’t know exactly when or how. I was waiting very impatiently for his arrival (though I think it came at the perfect time). Based on everything that happened in the first book, Bishop is rightfully occasionally bitter, but for the most part he is the same steady, sweet, loving guy who shows the patience of a saint. (Ivy doesn’t make things easy for Bishop when he first finds her.) If you weren’t in love with him after the first book (is there anyone out there who wasn’t in love with him after the first book? I think not.), you definitely will be after this one.
- Lots of surprises. I thought I had a good idea about where things were going to go in this book, but there were a TON of surprises. I was actually worried for a little while about where it was all headed, especially when it came to Ivy’s family, but the final outcome wasn’t what I was expecting – instead the book went in a much better direction! The epilogue wrapped things up for us beautifully, too!
What left me wanting more:
- Ivy’s issues. I understood why Ivy reacted to things the way she did. Her pain and her responses to that pain were actually very realistic – and she knew she was being unreasonable, but she just didn’t have the ability to change her emotions based on that knowledge. (And how realistic is that? I can honestly say that this has been true in my life on many occasions). But sometimes I still wanted to shake Ivy just a little bit and knock some sense into her. I guess I wished her insanity had gone on for just a little less time – but this was a small issue!
I think this series was the perfect length as a duology. There was no filler – instead we got an exciting beginning and a stunning conclusion. Just like the first book, this one earns 4.5/5 stars.
***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
AMY ENGEL’S TOP TEN ADDICTIONS
(in no particular order):
1) BOOKS. This one’s kind of a no-brainer for a writer, but I really do love to read. All the time. Everywhere. I don’t know what to do with myself if I have down time and no book. I’m constantly on the lookout for something new and amazing to read, but will re-read something I’ve already read ten times rather than go without.
2) BUXOM LIP GLOSS. I’m embarrassed to admit how many of these I own. Forty? Fifty? Probably somewhere in that range. They are literally falling out of my purse, my makeup drawers, etc. Once you get used to the tingle, it’s impossible to live without it.
And all the colors! Don’t get me started…
3) ICED COFFEE. I’m not a fan of hot drinks, so I have to have my coffee iced. I don’t like a lot of sugar or flavoring in it. Just coffee, ice and a splash of milk is fine. But if I don’t have it first thing in the morning, my whole day starts off on the wrong foot.
4) MEXICAN FOOD. I could eat Mexican food every day and never get sick of it. Spicy, cheesy, guacamole-y…what’s not to love?
5) EMAIL. My best friend lives in another state and we only see each other three or four times a year. So in between visits, we keep in touch via email. And I don’t mean an occasional note. We email each other every single day. LONG emails, that pretty much detail everything that happened that day, even boring stuff like doing laundry. I’d be lost without her daily emails.
6) SPARKLES. I’m like a human magpie. I love anything sparkly, glittery, shiny. My husband is always wondering why we can’t have “normal” throw pillows without sequins or jewels on them. I clearly should live in Vegas.
7) SHOES. It’s such a woman stereotype, but I love shoes. Boots, high heels, sandals, wedges. You name it, I’ve got it, although my particular weakness is embellished (see above) stilettos. Which is super practical for a writer and mom who spends 90% of her time in yoga pants. But still, if I ever need to hit the red carpet on a moment’s notice, I’ll be ready!
8) HUMANS OF NEW YORK. I’m addicted to the HONY FB page and check it out multiple times a day. Sometimes the posts make me smile; sometimes they make me feel like crying. Recently he was in Iran (a place I lived for a few years as a child) and I loved seeing the people and hearing their stories.
9) MY MACBOOK. It’s where I do all of my writing and if anything ever happened to it, I’d probably have a nervous breakdown. I generally write in a big, comfy chair in my living room with my Macbook on my lap. Even when I’m not using it, I have to know where it is at all times and I get super anxious if anyone else even touches it.
10) MY FAMILY. My husband and two kids are my favorite human beings on the planet. We’re all kind of homebodies and spend a ton of time together and yet, I rarely get sick of them. Even when I go away for just a weekend, I’m constantly checking in and missing them (yeah, I’m that person). They’re the best addiction in the world.
About the Author
I was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas, California, Missouri, Washington, D.C.), I settled in Kansas City, Missouri where I live with my husband and two kids. Before devoting myself full time to motherhood and writing, I was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV. When I have a free moment, I can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping.
I felt the same way about the first book! I am not too sure how I feel about Bishop though, I don’t hate him but he’s not my favourite. I am super pumped for The Revolution of Ivy! I have my copy now but I just haven’t gotten to it and I don’t know why because I’m really anticipating it! Awesome review 🙂
I have been seeing these books everywhere and everyone loves them! I really think I have to pick them up. I love the guest post too. Great review (although I skipped the second one for spoilers 🙂 )!
damn everyone loves the second book and I am sitting here afraid to pick it up hah
These sound fabulous! I am going to have to read them :). Hopefully sooner than later!
I agree with all of this! I was feeling the same about Ivy and her family. Like, how?! Why!? But it did make sense because it was literally the ONLY thing she knew. I love Bishop too, and he seemed so much more REAL in the second book. And I know what you mean about Ivy- but I loved that she was so ornery- it just made sense for me. I don’t know what prevented the second book from being 5 stars, I think I just didn’t have the necessary feels, basically. But overall, SUCH a good series, I loved it so much!
Oh and Amy? Good call on the iced coffee. I feel you. And also Mexican food. Such a win.
Thanks so much for the reviews and for having me on your blog! The Top Ten Addictions list was super fun to write. 🙂
The Book of Ivy sounds absolutely fabulous! Your enthusiasm over this book has me adding it to my to-read list right now! And I peeked and saw you gave the 2nd book 4.5 Stars, yay!
Aah, I’m so glad you enjoyed the sequel as much as book 1! I loved The Book of Ivy for the same reasons – the role family played in the plot and of course, Bishop 😉 I hadn’t planned on picking up The Revolution of Ivy any time soon (I’m obviously crazy) but after reading your review I definitely need to change that. Awesome review!
Zareena @ The Slanted Bookshelf
Yay, Nicole! So glad you loved the duology! Is Bishop not the greatest?! He definitely sets a high standard for book boys.
Great reviews! I can’t wait to see what Amy writes next. 🙂