Book Review: Likel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

Book: Likel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

Published May 2018 by Knopf Books For Young Readers|402 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Likelike #1

Genre: YA Sci Fi

On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

I’m not sure what to think about Likelike.  I read this one because it was this month’s book club pick, and I get why people like Jay Kristoff.  I don’t know that I would have picked up Likelike if it were not for book club, but it’s different.

At first, I had a hard time getting into.  Partly because of the…terminology I guess.  It’s my least favorite thing about sci-fi, and I generally don’t read a lot of sci-fi focusing on robots.  Not only that, but I had a hard time keeping up with who was who, and I had to read the first few chapters a few times just to figure out who the characters were and what was going on, because I wasn’t getting it.  It could have been me, it could have been the book, but that is neither here nor there.

It also felt painfully slow, and the memories that Eve had were kind of disjarring.  I mean, you knew she was remembering things, and there are some secrets that should have stayed secret.  This is a dark book, and it is definitely not for everyone.  I don’t know if his books are ones I would like- there were things I really liked about this one, but I also don’t know what to think about it.  Between this one and Illuminae, which I couldn’t finish because the formatting drove me up a wall, I don’t think I’ll seek out one of his books.  I’d give it a try if it were for book club, maybe, but on my own?  Probably not.

I liked the plot twist (as obvious as it was), and I like the premise of the story.  I liked the world that Eve lived in, and it’s a futuristic wasteland.  I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it, and it is different than a lot of the other sci-fi I’ve read.  It stands out, and in a good way.  If you’re looking for something unique and that doesn’t shy away from the dark side, this is the book for you.  There is no happy ending, but I’m oddly fine with that.  I had the feeling it wouldn’t have a happy ending, and it seems like happy endings are not his thing.

Also, I don’t read a lot of sci-fi.  Well, something so strongly sci-fi.  Set in space, yes.  Dystopia, definitely yes.  Maybe sci-fi that’s not super-technical, but something like this?  Usually not.  Maybe it’s just not my thing.

Anyway, I did like the world he built.  It’s vivid, and I could picture things so clearly.  Honestly, while I’m not sure what to think about this book in book form, I’d probably watch the hell out of a movie or tv show based on Lifelike.  I’m pretty sure it would be interesting to watch, and all of a sudden, I’m thinking that this is one of those books that I’d like far better on screen than in print.  Or maybe, I’d like it better as an audio book, but I’m not sure if that’s something I’m interested in doing.

I feel like I’m making no sense at all with this review.  My thoughts are all over this place for this one, and I can’t seem to get them organized.  Or in a way that’s cohesive and makes sense.  I think it’s time to move on, because I have no idea where I’m going with this.

My Rating:  So, I’m not actually going to rate this one.  Well, not yet.  I have no idea what to rate it because I have no idea how I really feel about it.  So for now, Likelike gets no rating.

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Book Review: Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

Book: Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne

Published May 2018 by HMH Books For Young Readers|400 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Re-telling

Seventeen-year-old Stella Ainsley wants just one thing: to go somewhere—anywhere—else. Her home is a floundering spaceship that offers few prospects, having been orbiting an ice-encased Earth for two hundred years. When a private ship hires her as a governess, Stella jumps at the chance. The captain of the Rochester, nineteen-year-old Hugo Fairfax, is notorious throughout the fleet for being a moody recluse and a drunk. But with Stella he’s kind.

But the Rochester harbors secrets: Stella is certain someone is trying to kill Hugo, and the more she discovers, the more questions she has about his role in a conspiracy threatening the fleet.

I really liked this one.  It’s a Jane Eyre re-telling, and though it’s been ages since I’ve read Jane Eyre, I still remembered just enough to recognize it as a Jane Eyre re-telling.  I think, even if you haven’t read Jane Eyre, it’s a pretty interesting and good read.

If you like Across The Universe by Beth Revis, I think you’ll really like this one.  I was reminded of it the entire time I was reading this book, and I liked seeing the fleet of spaceships just waiting to get back to earth.  Brightly Burning isn’t really an exploration of earth or space or trying to find a place to live like Across The Universe is, but it’s still an interesting and intriguing read.

I think I was surprised it was a stand-alone.  I think I assumed it would be the first of a trilogy, and there are a lot of questions that aren’t answered.  There are a lot of things I’m curious about, like the fleet sent up to orbit Earth because of an ice-age.  How did we end up in an Ice Age?  How did they decide who would get sent up on spaceships?  Were there people left to die on Earth?  It’s never really explained (and if it was, then it obviously didn’t stick).  I did like the references to movies and books (like The Sound Of Music, which is the only one I’m remembering right now), and it’s clear that that some of the more…pop culture-y things did make their way to space (and hopefully back to earth).

I’m always hesitant with stand-alone sci-books (and also stand-alone paranormal and fantasy books) because I’m always nervous that I’ll be really confused about the world and what’s going on.  Sometimes, one book doesn’t seem like enough to build a world, but I thought we got a really good sense of Stella’s world and what it was like becoming a governess on the Rochester.  And while I did want more of her story, particularly with how things ended, I’m also glad that it was only one book.  Maybe the fact that it’s Jane Eyre in space made it work as a stand-alone.

4 stars.  I really liked it, and the combination of Jane Eyre and space worked really well together.  I do wish I knew more about the ice age that led to us going up to space, and what things are like on earth, but overall, I thought that we got a really good sense of Stella’s world that I didn’t mind that a lot of my questions weren’t answered.

Book Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

Book: Warcross by Marie Lu

Published September 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers|353 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Warcross #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. 

The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

I really liked Warcross!  I liked Emika, and the world she lived in.

Emika is a great character, and she really is a girl just trying to survive.  It’s obvious Warcross means a lot to her, and it’s a pretty important part of her life.  A glitch really changed everything for her, and as it would turn out, things do not go the way she though they would.

Emika’s world was interesting, she does struggle.  But one of the things that kept me from truly loving Warcross was that the world (and Warcross) wasn’t explained very well.  I wasn’t quite clear what Warcross was or how it was played.  Obviously, it’s virtual reality, but it didn’t make a lot of sense to me.  Maybe I wasn’t reading the book well enough, or maybe it didn’t make a lot of sense because I’m not a gamer.  I did like the descriptions when Emika and her team was actually going up against another team, and I thought that was well done.

Maybe I just wish that it translated to the rest of the book.

Worldbuilding aside, I did like Emika’s team as well.  Something about them reminded of the group of people we see in Six Of Crows.  It might be an odd comparison, and I’m not at all sure why these two reminded me of each other, but I’m just going to go with it.  I do wish we knew more about them.  Emika is not at all concerned about what’s going on with them, so because she doesn’t know a lot about them, we don’t know a lot about them.  I wish we did, but hopefully that will change in the next book.

Warcross was entertaining and fun and I feel like I went through it pretty fast.  I did understand some of the motivations behind certain characters, especially Hideo.  And he especially had this really interesting balance of good and bad, so I am curious to see how his story plays out.  Him, more than anyone else.  As interesting as he is, part of me doesn’t like him.

I can’t wait to read the sequel to see where things go!

4 stars.  I really liked Warcross, and I thought Emika and the impact Warcross had on both her and the world was interesting.  It’s entertaining and fun, and an especially great book for people who like video games and technology.  I didn’t love it, but it was still a fun read.

Book Review: The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

Book: The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

Published March 2018 by HarperTeen|345 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

When Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, and Naomi, a science genius from California, are two of the twenty-four teens drafted into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever altered. After erratic climate change has made Earth a dangerous place to live, the fate of the population rests on the shoulders of the final six who will be scouting a new planet. Intense training, global scrutiny, and cutthroat opponents are only a few of the hurdles the contestants must endure in this competition.

For Leo, the prospect of traveling to Europa—Jupiter’s moon—to help resettle humankind is just the sense of purpose he’s been yearning for since losing his entire family in the flooding of Rome. Naomi, after learning of a similar space mission that mysteriously failed, suspects the ISTC isn’t being up front with them about what’s at risk.

As the race to the final six advances, the tests get more challenging—even deadly. With pressure mounting, Naomi finds an unexpected friend in Leo, and the two grow closer with each mind-boggling experience they encounter. But it’s only when the finalists become fewer and their destinies grow nearer that the two can fathom the full weight of everything at stake: the world, the stars, and their lives.

I had a hard time getting into this book, to the point that I did not like it.  At all.

I mean, sure, I read this book in three days, but the more I read, the more I didn’t like it.  Is it an interesting idea?  Absolutely.  A book about a group of teenagers trying to start a settlement on Jupiter’s moon sounds cool.  But this book just didn’t work for me.

One of my biggest issues were the narrators.  The Final Six follows two teens, Naomi and Leo, as they go through training at the ISTC.

For starters, their chapters/sections sound EXACTLY the same.  The 24 teens are divided into different groups, and of course, Naomi and Leo are on the same team.  It makes no sense to have both of them narrate, at least for most of the book.  It isn’t until the end of the book where it made sense to see two different perspective.  Are they doing different things for most of the book?  No, they most certainly were not.  They’re together  for most of the book, especially with the training exercises, and that is what a lot of the books are.

Their chapters sounded exactly the same, and if it weren’t for the header of Leo or Naomi, I wouldn’t know who we were supposed to be following.  Not that it would have made a difference, because there was no shift in perspective.  Well, for the most part.  The few times they aren’t together…let’s just say that even when they’re not together, there isn’t much difference between their voices.

And the other thing with the narration is this: for the most part, each chapter focuses on either Leo or Naomi.  There are times at the beginning where we change narrators mid-chapter.  Thankfully, that was just at the beginning, when we’re still figuring out what’s going on, and we’re seeing how they’re dealing with being drafted into this program.  It was jarring, though, and really put me off of the narration.

It didn’t help that I didn’t care for Naomi or Leo.  Or any of the other characters.  But especially them, since we see them the most.  I get Naomi wanted to take care of her brother, and didn’t want to leave him or her family, but I also didn’t like how she seemed to hate having to go.  I mean, I get it, but you were chosen, and it doesn’t mean you’ll be part of the final six.  It’s a stark comparison to most of the other 24, who have nothing to return to if they’re not selected.  Like Leo.  I get he didn’t want to go back to Italy, and that being selected meant everything to him, but in case, it did get tiring.  Instead of feeling sympathy, I felt irritated at how whiny they seemed.

There were some twists, but if I’m being honest, I had a hard time caring about anything.  I didn’t care about some of the reveals, or some of the things that were hinted at.

And that ending!  At first, when I finished it, I was thinking that I wasn’t sure if I was interested in continuing with the series.  I really hated this book, and that is not something I say lightly.  But I was curious about what would happen next…and to my surprise, this book seems like a stand alone.  It is weird, because it seemed like it was setting up for future books, and it ends on a note that would make you think that there is more to come.  And yet, there is no series information, which makes me think this was a stand alone.

Though I probably wouldn’t continue with a series, it really felt like a first book to me.  I’ve read (and started) more than my fair share of series, and this book gave off a first book vibe.  So either series information isn’t out yet, or it might be coming, or it’s a stand alone.  I’m actually not sure where I’m going with this, but I did finish the book feeling like there should have been more answers if it is indeed a stand alone.

1 star.  I feel like my rating isn’t a surprise at this point, and if you, for some reason, didn’t pick up on this, I didn’t like The Final Six.  It’s a cool idea, but if you like people settling on a different planet (or moon, in this case), Across The Universe is a much better book to read.

Book Review: Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza and Reign Of The Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Book: Empress Of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Published February 2017 by Razorbill|314 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Empress Of A Thousand Skies #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an wants vengeance.

The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, Rhee has spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne – and her revenge.

Alyosha is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.

Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.

The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding – even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee’s name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.

This was a book I was really excited about reading, but unfortunately, I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.

The book follows Rhee and Aly, and their stories didn’t match up the way I thought it would.  I felt like the story in the summary was completely different than the story I actually read.  The alternating POV’s didn’t really work for me (which is usually what happens), and I didn’t care for either of their stories.  Also, I felt like it made things more confusing than they needed to be.

If you’re going for similar books, Carve The Mark and These Broken Stars come to mind.  Especially Carve The Mark, so I think if you liked that one, you’d probably like this one.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really like Carve The Mark, so it’s not that surprising that I didn’t like this one.  It’s your typical lost princess out for vengeance who is also trying to re-claim her throne story.  It’s different enough, though, because someone gets accused of murder who didn’t actually do it- this happens pretty early on, so while it is a spoiler, I don’t consider it too big of a spoiler.

I did feel bad for Aly, because he really had to think twice about his behavior.  Things that other characters could do without a second thought, Aly had to think about because he faces a lot of prejudice.  There are some parallels to things we see, and I thought that part was really well done.

Overall, though, I just wasn’t into the story.  As pretty as the cover is, and as cool as the book sounds, I had a hard time getting into it.  I also had a really hard time picturing where all of the planets were in relation to each other.

My Rating: 2 stars.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t a big fan of the book, but if fantasy in space is your thing, this is a book worth checking out.

Book: Reign Of The Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Published January 2018 by Razorbill|375 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Reign Of The Fallen #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

This was another book I was excited about but ended up not really liking.  It’s a cool idea, and the world was really interesting, but for the most part, I thought this book was confusing.

Though the world itself was interesting- and somewhat unique- I also thought it didn’t make a lot of sense.  Things weren’t explained very well, at least for me, and as the book went on, I had a hard time caring about Odessa and everything she lost.

The loss of a loved one in a world where the dead can be raised had a lot of potential, but I didn’t think the execution was quite there.  It was boring, and there were a lot of things I didn’t care about.  I felt like the things I did care about didn’t really come up or weren’t really explored, and the things I didn’t care about were coming up a lot.

I was bored.  I didn’t feel anything, though it seemed like I should have.  While I wasn’t expecting a lot of action, I still felt like I was struggling to get through it.  How I did, I have no idea, because this book seemed so slow.

Her grief and addiction were really well done, I will say that.  Her not wanting help from people after losing someone was easy to understand.  Part of me really wishes that my disinterest in the book was reading it at the wrong time, particularly because it’s about a character who is dealing with grief.  But I’ve read a few other books recently that have a character dealing with grief, and I was really invested in those books, so maybe this one just didn’t work for me.

My Rating: 2 stars.  It’s a cool idea, but it didn’t work for me.  I thought the world was interesting but boring, and while I wanted to like it, I just couldn’t.

Book Review: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence and Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

Book: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

Published October 2012 by Delacorte Books For Young Readers|397 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Mystic City #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

For fans of  Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner comes a tale of a magical city divided, a political rebellion ignited, and a love that was meant to last forever. Book One of the Mystic City Novels.

Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City’s two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents’ sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud – and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths.

But Aria doesn’t remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can’t conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place.

Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection – and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city – including herself.

It’s taken me a while to actually review this book, so I’m a little bit fuzzy on what actually happened, and what I thought about the book.  The last months have been…rough…to say this least, but I’ll at least try to review the book.

So, it’s compared to quite a few things.  I didn’t really get why it was compared to The Hunger Games, and I don’t completely get why it was compared to Matched either.  X-Men is a pretty good comparison, though it’s not the best comparison.  And I’ve never seen Blade Runner (nor do I know what it’s about) so I don’t know how that holds up.

The world was…different, I supposed.  It makes me wonder what happened to the rest of the world, but you could probably say that about any other sci-fi/dystopia/post-apocalyptic book out there.  I wish we got a little more of the world than what we got, but this is the first book in a series, so there is probably more about this world in the books to come.

*I feel like I say that about a lot of series, and it almost never goes the way I want it to, information wise, so who knows if that is actually the case in this book.

It does seem very convenient that Aria and Thomas are getting married just when their families need to get along and unite against a rival politician who will ruin everything.  (I’m being slightly sarcastic here, but things do seem very convenient).  It’s also convenient that she loses her memories and that they don’t come back.  I can’t remember if they ever come back. which obviously isn’t helpful, and I know I wasn’t into the book enough to re-read it.  Or continue onto the next book.  Maybe I’ve just read too many dystopias and post-apocalyptic novels to be completely in love with the book.

Maybe I would have liked it a lot more had I read it when it came out.  As is stands, it sounds like a cool idea, but I thought it was okay.  Keeping in mind I have only a vague memory of this book, of course.  Maybe if you haven’t read a lot of YA dystopias, you’d like it.

My Rating: 2 stars.  While I did like the premise of the novel, it wasn’t enough to warrant more interest in the book or continuing the series.

Book: Sleep No More by Aprilynne Pike

Published April 2014 by HarperTeen|352 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Charlotte Westing Chronicles #1

Genre: YA Paranormal

The blockbuster film Inception meets Lisa McMann’s Wake trilogy in this dark paranormal thriller from #1 New York Timesbestselling author Aprilynne Pike. This supernatural young adult novel is perfect for fans of Kelley Armstrong, Alyson Noël, Richelle Mead, and Kimberly Derting.

Charlotte Westing has a gift. She is an Oracle and has the ability to tell the future. But it doesn’t do her much good. Instead of using their miraculous power, modern day Oracles are told to fight their visions––to refrain from interfering. And Charlotte knows the price of breaking the rules. She sees it every day in her wheelchair-bound mother and the absence of her father. But when a premonition of a classmate’s death is too strong for her to ignore, Charlotte is forced to make an impossible decision: continue following the rules or risk everything—even her sanity—to stop the serial killer who is stalking her town.

I’ve really liked Aprilynne Pike’s books, so I knew I had to read this one.  It’s not my favorite of hers, but it was still interesting and different.  I’m curious about their visions, and Charlotte really was determined to put a stop to the serial killer in her town, even if it meant going against everything her aunt taught her to do.

I feel like a lot of what happens in the book could have been avoided had her aunt just been honest with her.  Then again, if she had been honest, this would have been a very different book.

The concept of Oracles is pretty cool, and I did like that there were consequences to changing things.  It could have easily been very different, but there is something very refreshing about there being actually consequences to changing things.

Charlotte puts her trust in some very questionable people, and why she didn’t go to her aunt is beyond me.  We do see the consequences of that, of course, but still.  If only her aunt actually talked to Charlotte, or if Charlotte went to her aunt for help, things would have been very different.  We can do the what if game all we want, and things went how they went, but I couldn’t help but think how they could have gone differently.

This book is strange too, because it had an open-ending.  I mean, things were pretty resolved, and it did seem like a stand-alone, and yet, there is a sequel…

…that I don’t think I’ll read.  I love her books, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t really have an interest in picking up a sequel.  I feel like I probably wouldn’t like it, and this isn’t my favorite book by her.  There was a lot that didn’t make sense, and I don’t know that reading the sequel would help or add to the world.  Part of me is hoping I’m wrong, but there’s no way of knowing for sure.  Not only that, but I didn’t really like this book enough to even want to pick up any other books in the series.

My Rating: 2 stars.  This was an odd one, and it was just okay.  Certain things were frustrating and confusing, and while I wanted to like it more, I couldn’t.

Book Review: ACID by Emma Pass

Book: ACID by Emma Pass

Published April 2015 by Ember|384 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: None

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Dystopia

Fans of Matched and Divergent will be hooked by this fast-paced, nail-biting survival story, featuring an unforgettable heroine reminiscent of Katniss Everdeen and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth Salander.

The year is 2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID—the most brutal controlling police force in history—rule supreme. No throwaway comment or whispered dissent goes unnoticed—or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a horrendous crime she struggles to remember. But Jenna’s violent prison time has taught her how to survive by any means necessary. When a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed, and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID and try to uncover the truth about what really happened on that terrible night two years ago. They’ve taken her life, her freedom, and her memories away from her. How can she reclaim anything when she doesn’t know who to trust?

I liked ACID!  I think, had I read this book a few years ago, I would have loved it.  I don’t know if I’d read a lot of dystopia over the years, and so I didn’t love it the way I might have a few years ago.  But I did like it.

The police force in this novel is horrible.  No bad deed is unpunished in this world, and what makes this book so terrifying is that they will do anything to keep dissent squashed down.  While we get the basic idea of how they took over, we don’t get a clear grasp of this world and what it’s like.  We know people are told who to marry, where to work and where to live, and everything get reported.  It seems like the rest of the world is okay, but that’s not too clear, since it seems like the UK is pretty isolated.

It’s a nice change from the US being the one in this type of world.  In other dystopias, I always wonder what’s going on in the rest of the world while craziness happens in the U.S.  This time, the tables are turned, and I’m left wondering what’s happening in the rest of the world, while things are god awful in the U.K.

I did like the news articles and letters and transcripts of conversations between ACID agents.  It’s a different and cool way of giving us information about this world and what’s going on.  It would have been a lot cooler had the events of the book felt less random.

It started off really strong, and somewhere along the way, it lost that special something that initially drew me in.  Certain things were underdeveloped, and it felt like the book had wandered off-course before righting itself.  I don’t know that Divergent is an accurate comparison, because I didn’t really get that vibe from the book at all.  I feel like Matched is pretty spot on, and I’d even say that Delirium is another good read-alike.  Those two series are probably the most similar to this one.

It was still a fun read, even though though some things are far-fetched, and not really explained.  It would make a great movie though, I will admit that.

3 stars.  I liked ACID, and it was entertaining to read, but it started off strong and then tapered off as the book went on.

Book Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman And Meagan Spooner

Book: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman And Meagan Spooner

Published December 2013 by Disney Hyperion|384 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Starbound #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth. 

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

I feel like I’ve seen this cover a lot, and I randomly decided to read this book one day.  Because of the cover, which is really cool.  Also, I finished Hunted by Meagan Spooner recently, and I really liked it, so I wanted to check out some of her other books.  This seemed like a good choice, and it really was!

I liked it, and the planet they land on is really creepy and deserted.  I thought Lilac and Tarver were an interesting pairing, and while she was lucky to have crashed on a random planet with Tarver, he probably wished he was with someone else.  At least for a while, but Lilac does prove herself.  I found Lilac to be much more interesting than Tarver, and there were times where I wanted more of Lilac and less of Tarver.  He was a lot more bland than I would have liked.

Something I thought was interesting was how everything was wrapped up pretty well.  I mean, this is the first book in a trilogy, so it’s not the last we’ve heard of this world.  But it makes me wonder what’s going to happen in the next two books.  Part of me feels like their story is over, which makes me especially curious as to how their story will play out in the next book.  I was not expecting their story to be so resolved at the end of the book, I really wasn’t.  Maybe Tarver will be less bland in the books to come.

The planet they crash on is super-weird, and the fact that it was essentially abandoned was also weird.  I wanted to know more about why people were sent there, and what their life was like on that planet before things went bad.  Why would Lilac’s dad be involved with setting up on life on this planet?  So he could have more power and control? That seems likely, considering Lilac’s monologue at the end of the book, but I’m still curious about what’s really going on with him.  I have the feeling he’s up to something, and that something is not good.

4 stars.  I really liked These Broken Stars, and I think it’s a good read-alike for Across The Universe by Beth Revis.

What I’ve Been Reading: Part Two

I thought I’d share some of the books I read earlier in the year and never got around to reviewing.  I talked about some of the books I read earlier in the year in this post, and figured I do another post since I had some more books to talk about.  All of the books were from the library.

Book One: The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

What I Thought:

  • So, The Invisible Library is about Irene, a spy for a very mysterious Library, and her quest to retrieve a dangerous book from an alternate London
  • It’s a really good read-alike if you like the Eyre Affair…but instead of going into books, you’re going into parallel dimensions and alternate worlds to take their books for the sake of preservation and research
  • The library has a life of its own, and the librarians seem like an interesting bunch
  • I really want to know more about the librarians.  We get a little bit of the hierarchy and structure of the library, but not a lot, and I’m hoping we get more
  • The way I feel about the librarians is the same way I feel about the Library.  We get a general idea of the library and how it works but I want more
  • It is the first book in a series, so it is setting up for future books.  Hopefully we’ll see more
  • There are a lot of possibilities, though.  I mean, they go into parallel dimensions to retrieve books, and there are a lot of possibilities for future books.  It would be interesting to see how things could possibly spiral out
  • My Rating: 3 stars.  It’s a fun book to read, and great if you like books about books and libraries, but I wanted more about the Library and the librarians who work there.

Book #2: Carve The Mark by Veronica Roth

What I Thought:

  • Carve The Mark is about Cyra, who is pretty much able to torture people, and Akos, who has some power I cannot remember
  • I was really excited about this book, because I loved the Divergent series (even Allegiant, which I know people either love or hate), but I did’t like it as much as a thought
  • Well…what I remember, which isn’t much
  • Honestly, even though it’s set in space, it felt like it could have been set anywhere.  I kind of forgot it was space in space most of the time
  • It was really slow and confusing and I wasn’t a big fan of the dual narration
  • I don’t remember a lot about the book, and I honestly can’t remember what I liked or didn’t like.  I know I read it, but that’s pretty much it
  • I think it could be an interesting read-alike for fans of Graceling and An Ember In The Ashes
  • I vaguely remember that it’s slightly interesting blend of sci-fi and fantasy- there are element of both, and it didn’t feel like it was one or the other
  • My Rating?  2 stars.  I don’t remember enough to dislike it, but I don’t remember enough to like it

Book Three: King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

What I Thought:

  • I really wish I re-read the first two books in the series first, because I had a hard time remembering what was going
  • I’m starting to like this series less and less, and I honestly thought this book was the last one
  • I was very surprised on learning this is, in fact, not the last book in the series.  I was disappointed with how it ended at first, because nothing felt resolved, but when I saw there were more books, the ending made a lot more sense
  • I was more bored reading this book than I was with the other books
  • Nothing stood out to me as interesting or memorable, and I couldn’t tell you a single thing that happened
  • I do like the overall premise of the series, and I am determined to finish it out…but part of me wonders if it’s being stretched out too much
  • Maybe I need to re-read the series before I make up my mind.  And maybe if I do re-read it, I’ll do an updated review
  • Rating: 2 stars.  It wasn’t very memorable, and I remember being bored when I was reading it.

Book #4: In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

What I Thought:

  • This book is bananas!
  • Seriously, what is going on with Clare and Nora?  Clare has some issues, as does Nora
  • I mean, Nora’s okay, but she was really hung up on a short-lived relationship that happened when she was 16.  I thought it was weird that she was so hung up on something that happened 10 years earlier
  • And Clare…I get that she was worried what people thought about her (don’t we all worry about that, to some degree?) but she took it to an extreme
  • To me, they acted a lot younger than they were.  Not that they have to act a certain way, just because they’re in their mid-twenties, but Clare in particular seemed very determined to get what she wanted
  • It was not as creepy as I thought it would be.  They’re in a cabin in the woods, and it’s pretty isolated from what I could tell.  But it was not at all creepy
  • I did want to keep reading, though, and to see who was killed and why.
  • Rating: I have to go with 2 stars on this one.  I just wanted something more creepy.

Book Review Round-Up: Burn Out, The Shadow Queen And This Savage Song

I’ve read quite a few books recently, so I thought I’d do some shorter reviews about some of them!

Burn Out CoverBook #1: Burn Out by Kristi Helvig

Published April 2015 by EgmontUSA|288 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: Burn Out #1

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Post-Apocalyptic

What It’s About: New in paperback! A science fiction tale of survival full of action, adventure, and intrigue. Perfect for fans of Beth Revis’s Across the Universe and Lenore Appelhans’s The Memory of After.

Some people want to save the world. Seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to stay alive long enough to escape it. Now that the sun’s become a “red giant,” burning out far faster than scientists could ever have predicted, Earth is barely habitable and almost everyone is gone.

Holed up in an underground shelter, Tora’s only comforts are her dreams of a planet with a plentiful water supply and the bio-energetic weapons her father lost his life for. The ones that only she can fire.

When family friend Markus arrives with mercenaries to take her weapons by force, Tora must decide if trading the guns for safe passage to a new livable planet is worth the price of betraying her father’s wishes. But when she discovers the government’s true motives, her bargaining chip may be nothing more than smoke.

Burn Out combines high-stakes action, adventure, and a hint of romance in a thrilling science fiction debut.

What I Thought: I liked Burn Out!  I thought the idea of an asteroid hitting the sun, causing the sun to burn out at some point in the future to be really interesting, and different, as far as post-apocalyptic novels go.

I thought Tora to be an interesting, but semi-unreliable character.  She has her suspicions about what happened to her father, but as a reader, I was never completely sure about what happened to him, or to Tora’s mother or sister. We only get glimpses of them and the Consulate that’s now in charge, plus there are some untrustworthy characters we meet along the way.  It’s hard to know who to trust, and what’s really going on because you’re never sure who’s telling the truth or who’s lying.  And she seems to be the only female on earth, but as it turns out, there is another survivor, which makes me wonder if there are other people still on Earth, or if everyone else really has left.

I really liked the characters, though, and Tora’s pretty tough.  I also have so many questions about the other characters, and they are a big mystery to me.  What they really up to?

I can’t speak to the accuracy of the science we see in the book, and as someone who doesn’t know, well, much of anything about science…I was going to say it seemed plausible enough, but now I’m not sure.  I do get the comparison to Across The Universe, but having never read The Memory Of After, I’m not sure how it compares to that book.

My Rating: 3 stars.  I liked it enough to read the sequel, but I didn’t love it.  It did end a little abruptly, and I’m hoping the next one doesn’t end that way.

The Shadow Queen CoverBook #2: The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

Published February 2016 by Balzer+ Bray|387 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Ravenspire #1

Genre: YA Fantasy/Fairy Tale Re-Telling

What It’s About: Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

What I Thought: The Shadow Queen seemed right up my alley- I do like fairy tale re-tellings, but this one was just okay.  I liked the idea of a dragon huntsman, and the use of magic to help out neighboring kingdoms.  And the magic that Irina used to make the kingdom hers, even though it clearly wasn’t.  I had a hard time getting into it, though, because I feel like I’ve read this story before.  It just wasn’t different enough to make it stand out against other books in the genre, and I’ve read my share of fantasy/fairy tale re-tellings.  I think people might like it, but it wasn’t for me.

I did like Kol, but not as a love interest for Lorelei.  I think they’re better off as allies, and they didn’t work as a couple for me.  I thought they had no chemistry, and I had a really hard time believing in their romance.  I didn’t care for Lorelei, and even though I felt for her, something about her character fell flat for me.

My Rating: 2 stars.  This one wasn’t for me, but I did like the idea of a dragon huntsman.

This Savage Song CoverBook #3: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Published July 2016 by Greenwillow Books|427 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Monsters Of Verity #1

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy/Horror

What It’s About: There’s no such thing as safe.

Kate Harker wants to be as ruthless as her father. After five years and six boarding schools, she’s finally going home to prove that she can be.

August Flynn wants to be human. But he isn’t. He’s a monster, one that can steal souls with a song. He’s one of the three most powerful monsters in a city overrun with them. His own father’s secret weapon.

Their city is divided.

Their city is crumbling.

Kate and August are the only two who see both sides, the only two who could do something.

But how do you decide to be a hero or a villain when it’s hard to tell which is which?

What I Thought: I’ve heard a lot of really good things about This Savage Song, and I know it’s received a lot of rave reviews, but unfortunately, this book wasn’t for me.

I thought the world-building was really confusing and not very clear.  I knew there were monsters and they were born from really horrible things, but for me, the book made that concept seem a lot more confusing than it really was.  And the differences between the different kinds of monsters was also really confusing.   I wasn’t sure what the differences between them were, and it seemed like they were different, but it wasn’t really explained how they came to be or how they were different.

And the city of Verity, and it being closed off also seemed really confusing.  Sometimes, it seemed like the things going on in Verity were happening elsewhere around the country.  Other times, it seemed like Verity was the only city affected.  I ended up feeling really confused about it, because the history and how Verity got to that point wasn’t explained very clearly.  Not that we get much, because we don’t.  It’s hard to tell how much backstory there is on Verity and the monsters, because I thought the things we do get were confusing and not explained well.

I didn’t like Kate at all, and she seemed to be intentionally horrible and destructive- she seems to act that way to get attention and prove she’s like her father.  She sets a school on fire because she didn’t want to be there, and I wouldn’t have minded it, except it seemed random and for no reason.  As much as I know that people do act that way for no apparent reason, I also wanted something more from her.

As for August, I didn’t really care for him either.  He’s very much a tortured soul that’s supposed to be poetic and romantic and swoon-worthy, but in his case, it was just unappealing and annoying.  They live in a bleak world, but I wanted something more from them.  Maybe some hope or something?  I’m not really sure, but something was missing from both of them.  Maybe it’s because of the world they live in, which is really dark and hopeless and not a world I’d want to live in.

My Rating: 2 stars.  It’s definitely not for me, but I can sort of see why people love the book.