Removed (The Nogiku Series, #1)

Removed (The Nogiku Series, #1)

by S. J. Pajonas

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781940599014
Publisher: Onigiri Press
Publication date: 09/10/2013
Series: The Nogiku Series , #1
Sold by: Draft2Digital
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 321,904
File size: 862 KB

About the Author

Stephanie (S. J.) is a writer, knitter, amateur astrologer, Capricorn, Japanophile, and USA Today Best Selling author. She loves foxes, owls, sushi, yoga pants, Evernote, and black tea. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing or spending time outside, unless it’s winter. She hates winter. Someday she’ll own a house in both hemispheres so she can avoid the season entirely. She’s a mom to two great kids and lives with her husband and family outside NYC. They have no pets. Yet. When it comes to her work, expect the unexpected. She doesn’t write anything typical. Find her online at http://www.spajonas.com. 

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Removed 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
jukelley More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I almost passed on reading what turned out to be the best book I have read this year!!! Honestly, I read the summary in a message for a Read It, Review It for our book club and wasn't interested. There were 20 copies available and only 5 people had signed up to review. That made me sad for the author, so I signed up. I started the book the night I received it, and before I knew it, it was past midnight! I was 40% into the book and forcing myself to stop reading so I would be able to get up in the morning for work. Sometimes I get myself in trouble by leading with my heart, but this time I hit the jackpot!! This story has a little bit of everything and in perfect amounts. There is mystery, suspense, murder, love, friendship, and family. There are so many wonderful characters in this book. They are all so well written and developed. I felt like they were people I really knew. The scenery and descriptions in the story were written so well I could close my eyes and picture everything perfectly. I was afraid that it was going to be too much since the story is very Japanese oriented, containing a glossary in the back of the book. I tried to use it but found it distracting to move back and forth in the story. However, I found that I didn't really need it. Most of the time I could catch the basic meaning from the story. The description of buildings, clothing, etc. was done very nicely...just enough to give you a good image. The heroine, Sanaa, is the absolute best heroine I have read. Ever. She is smart, strong, sweet, and brave. She isn't perfect. She freaks out a bit, just like anyone would, when she learns about who she really is and as she is thrown into certain situations. My favorite scenes for Sanaa, the ones that truly made me love her and name her the best heroine I have ever read, were towards the end of the story.  My favorite quote of Sanaa was at the end of the book when she is thinking to herself about being angry at Mark Sakai and she says she is going to punch him in the face the next time she sees him. This made me laugh because I say it all the time. I loved Jiro and the way he was with Sanaa. I love that he loved her strength and straight-forwardness and was turned on by her taking control.  Both characters were so strong. They knew who they were and what they wanted. I love that there was no drama between them. I mean, there is plenty happening in the story, but there is no unnecessary drama in their relationship. With so many books that I have read this year, drama in the relationship is the entire storyline. There is deceit within the relationship, lies of omission, etc. There is none of that with Sanaa and Jiro, only openness and complete honesty. It is very refreshing. I truly can't believe that this book is the debut novel from S.J. Pajonas. It is absolutely amazing. Written exceptionally well, it flows at a good pace. It is packed with action, but is a love story as well. I really can't say enough good things about this story. I highly recommend it!!! I might die waiting two weeks for the second book in the series...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
REMOVED, Book 1 of the Nogiku Series, follows Sanaa Griffin in a futuristic society steeped in Japanese culture.  Sanaa discovers, as she turns 20, that she is not who she thinks she is. Sanaa must quickly adapt to being thrust into an entirely new role as her world changes around her. S.J. develops the characters throughout the book and I enjoyed seeing them grow. I love books steeped in a culture. REMOVED does not disappoint! I wanted to taste the foods or see the kimonos and clothing, or do further research into the culture that she describes. The book was sprinkled with Japanese terms but it was easy to follow. Conveniently S.J. includes a glossary at the end of the book. REMOVED has a strong kick-ass girl, romance with a kick-ass guy, and a post-apocalyptic dystopian society. In other words, it has everything I could possibly ask for in a book!   REMOVED finishes on a cliffhanger so I am excitedly looking forward to the next release in the series!
COBauer More than 1 year ago
Received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. I’ll preface this review by saying this isn’t normally my style. I could tell S.J. Pajonas was influenced by Haruki Murakami, which isn’t a bad thing–but not necessarily my cup of tea. I have yet to get through one of his books. Glad I stuck this one out, though. Pajonas was able to take his style and compact it into a short, compelling read. REMOVED is an interesting mix of Dystopian and Sci-Fi. Really enjoyed the blend of Japanese culture with western customs and phrasing. At times the Japanese language was a bit overwhelming, which took me out of the story. I unfortunately didn’t discover the glossary in the back until the end… Overall a great story of first love and self-discovery. The cliffhanger definitely left me wanting to know what happens next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Full disclosure: I've read several versions of this book, including the ARC, which Stephanie was so kind to share with me! When I first volunteered to be a beta reader for this book, I must admit I was a little hesitant - what if it was terrible? I hate seeing my friends put so much effort into things that aren't awesome in every way! Well, I never should have worried about that because this book is GREAT. I devoured the first copy I received, even sleepily pregnant and with a toddler in the house, and must have read varying beta versions 3-4 times. It's that good. Her writing style is straightforward and engaging, the characters are maddening and lovable (oh, Sanaa and Jiro...), and the story is captivating. It's one of those books where you finish it and immediately want to pick up the next in the series to find out what happens!
1morepage More than 1 year ago
I started this book back in November and for some reason or another - maybe my head wasn't in the right place or I was too busy writing and finishing my latest novel - I just couldn't get into the story. I tried several times over the last few months, only to set it aside, frustrated because I'd heard what an amazing book it was. Since I sent my latest WiP out to my beta readers, I've had a little more time on my hands and I've been catching up on my to-read list. I was determined to read Removed by S.J. Pajonas, all the way through - to finish it and give it the attention I knew it deserved... I'm so glad I finally did. One of my friends called me a "reading machine" the other day and it was an apt description as I've read nine books since the beginning of the year! Oh.My.Gosh. Once I put my mind to it, I finished the book in two days. Two Days! I couldn't set the book down to do much of anything and have sacrificed quite a bit of sleep the past few days to stay up reading. Sanaa is an amazing heroine - she's strong, caring, sincere and confident. I love that her emotions are written all over her face, I love that she breaks down and has moments of fear or insecurity, I love that she is so physical and I love that she cares even though she doesn't have to. I'm always amazed, and I have no idea why, when certain authors have such a gift with character development. When I feel like I know the person I'm reading about so well, it's like they're a friend I've known all my life...like I should be able to fall into the book and become part of the story. S.J. Pajonas has this gift. It's awe-inspiring, truly it is. The world this author has created is fascinating! She brings the sights, smells, sounds and culture right to your senses and it's hard not to imagine that you aren't really there, participating in the events, conversations, the hustle and bustle. It's these well-developed worlds that make me wish they were real because I want to explore and experience them. I want to submerge myself in this world and quite possibly never come back. I'm very eager to read the remaining books in this four-part series, and when I do, I'll be sure to post another review here for you to read! If the other three books are as delicious as this one, I know I'll be missing out on a lot more sleep...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Removed is a unique fusion of the modern and traditional. I relished the artful way this story was put together--from the martial arts and sword fighting, to the futuristic dome world of Japan--this elegantly told sci-fi tale is a treat for readers who crave a decadent dollop of culture atop their stories du jour. 20-year-old, Sanaa, is a sweet, but sassy protagonist. Naive in some ways, but far from ignorant. Throughout the story her personality is painted in such a way, that envisioning her is effortless. And while Sanaa is a delightful character, by the end of the book, she kicks total butt. My kinda girl. Having been orphaned very young, she was raised by her aunties--another element I thought was done well by incorporating a diverse family unit that I'm positive will be even more common in the future--and is about to learn the secret of her parents and who she is meant to become. Her growth by the end of the story is one worth cheering for. I don't want to give too much away, but I'll say the plot offers some nice surprises, while a side dish of romance is served alongside it. Which brings me to Sanaa's love interest, Jiro. *sigh* He was a refreshing change. Skilled, clever, and down to earth. Did I mention his crazy cool tattoos? Yep, he's got them. Have you noticed all my food metaphors? That's because after reading this book I've got food on the brain! Pajonas' brief but thoughtful descriptions of the Japanese cuisine left my mouth watering. Bento box, anyone? Yum! And the fabrics and fashion? *swoon* One of my favorite parts of visiting Asia (besides the food) is all the lush silks and detailed embroidery. Pajonas does not disappoint by leaving these out. There's no doubt the author knows the Japanese culture well, and weaves it in with the storytelling seamlessly. Having been to Japan a few times myself, I can say from experience, the foreign culture takes a short adjustment period if you're from my side of the world. That's typical. All countries do. And similarly, there's a brief adjustment required in reading this story because of the rich language and traits, but that's part of what makes it so real and so grand. Once you get used to the combination of languages, you gain a genuine appreciation of the time and thought the author put into this story's authenticity. And since Japan always seems to be on the cutting edge of technology, imagining it home to the future of society makes a whole lot of sense. If you're looking for something unique and imaginative to read, you should give this first book in the Nogiku Series a try, and I'm quite certain you'll be glad you did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was fortunate to receive an ARC of REMOVED by S.J. Pajonas, and read the complete first installment of the Nogiku Series in a single day.  I couldn’t put it down, but more importantly, it made me think.   REMOVED features a future society based on traditional Japanese culture where Earth’s population has been reduced to 6 million people living under a dome somewhere in North America.  The resulting society has self-segregated into wards while making preparations to leave the planet.  Sanaa is comfortable with her life until a family friend, Mark Sakai, arranges for her to work for him on a mysterious project of researching rival clan members.  Along the way, she connects with Jiro, who trains her in the art of sword fighting.  While their connection deepens, Sanaa’s research yields more questions than answers.  When the truth about Mark’s motivation in hiring Sanaa is discovered, the life she knew is destroyed.  The world is falling apart (literally as violent earthquakes abound) and Sanaa’s very existence is necessary to preserve the way of life she loves so much.     One of the more unique features of this novel is the first person voice Pajonas uses throughout.  At first Sanaa’s thoughts and dialogue seemed ultra reserved for a 20 year old, but as I considered the connection to Japanese traditions, her reactions made perfect sense.  This is a young woman who has spent her entire life doing what she was told without question.  Sanaa’s growth from naïve child to confident adult is stunning.   The pace, like all good stories, picks up considerably as action and romance intertwine.  I particularly enjoyed the couple of surprise twists (no spoilers here!) that take REMOVED in a direction I never saw coming without feeling trite or cumbersome.  I wholeheartedly recommend this book and can’t wait for the next in the series!   
LolitaV More than 1 year ago
There are some books for which you read the blurb and know that you are going to love it, Removed was one of those books for me. Once I read the blurb I couldn't get it out of my head and it didn't took me long to give over to the temptation and buy it. I hardly know where to start with this review, Removed was amzing and I fell completely in love with the story. The pace of the story is slow, but it perfectly fits the book. Also around halfway through the story really picks up, things are starting to change and some great twists and turns take place that I didn't saw coming. From that point onwards I knew this would be a 5 star book for me. I love the writing style of the author and how she brings the world in this book alive. The first half of the story is mostly world building, getting to know the seting and the main character and it is the build-up for everything that happens later. Some things where a bit confusing and didn't make sense at first, but later everything makes more sense. I loved the japanese traditions that where an important part of this book. I have always been interested in japan and the culture and I loved learning more about it. It's obvious the author knows what she's talking about. I was a bit confused at first at the use of japanese words, as in the first few pages it could get a bit overwhelming sometimes. I know some japanese words, but not a lot. After the first few pages I got used to it and the author weaves it perfectly into the story, she still uses japanese words, but thanks to the context I could grasp the meaning of most of them. This book is mostly post-apocalytpic, but it's also a romance story and there are some science-fiction elements trown in too. In this book the science-fiction part actually isn't at the forefront of the story, but I suspect it will be much more important in later books in this series. I always say I am not a big fan of science-fiction, but this books proves again that there are always exceptions. I think the science-fiction elements are done really well in this book and I actually am really looking forward to read how it all plays out in the next books. When I started this book I almost immediately connected with the main character, Sanaa. Sanaa is a great main character, she is strong, but also has her doubts. I really loved her strenght and how she would push herself to achieve the things she wanted. There are a lot of side characters, I had some difficulties at times to remember who each of them was and had some trouble remembering some of the japanese names, but as the story progresses this got easier. They really addto the story and there are some side characters we get to know quite well. And then there is Jiro, the love interest, he is another great character and as we really get to know him I started to like him more and more. The romance plays quite an important part in this story and it's really well done. Sanaa and Jiro are perfect together and I loved how their relationship developed, slow at first, but then faster. They are so good to each other and I like how their relationship missed many of the obvious clichés couples go through in a lot of books. It was original and refreshing and I can't wait to read more about them! And then there is the world building, I love books in which the world building is done well and the author did a great job with the world building. It's a post apocalyptic world, so a lot has changed, but there are also a lot of japanese influences which need explaining too. There is a lot to explain, but I loved learning more about the world and was hungry for more. There are some things about the world I would've loved learning more about, like how society changes (it's around 1000 years in the future) and the impact on the colonization on every day life. But a lot of questions are answered and I was able to get a good idea of the world. To conclude: I fell completely in love with this story. It starts slow at first, but the pace fits the story. Around halfway through the story really picks up and I was surprised at the twists and turns the story took. While it's labelled science-fiction, the sci-fi elements don't play a big part in this book yet and I am curious to read how it will play a bigger part in future books. The romance is done really well and Sanaa and Jiro are so perfect together! The author really made the world come alive, both through detailing the post-apocalyptic elements and the japanese traditions and influences that shape much of the society and world. Needless to say I can't wait to start on Released, the next book in this series!
ktlc1113 More than 1 year ago
In Removed, book one of the Nogiku Series, S.J. Pajonas has created a futuristic world that is steeped in Japanese culture and is like no other world I have read before. On New Year's Eve while celebrating her 20th birthday, Sanaa Griffin makes a wish for the new year to bring her love. A change in the course of her career and life brings love and so much more as Sanaa finds out the truth about her family and destiny. Sanaa's relationship with Jiro, her swoonworthy sword fighting teacher, progresses from instant attraction to red-hot lust to genuine love in a very satisfying way. Both Sanaa and Jiro are complicated characters and it was wonderful to discover the different parts of their personalities. The story builds with a slow burn as more and more is revealed about Sanaa's history and the politics of Nogiku and explodes in a final action scene worthy of the cinema. I am very happy to have received an ARC of this book and look forward to reading the rest of the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago