2014 is already shaping up to be a great year in books. I’ve read a total of seven books so far, and Avalon is by far my favorite. I was a little hesi2014 is already shaping up to be a great year in books. I’ve read a total of seven books so far, and Avalon is by far my favorite. I was a little hesitant because the cover suggests such a dark, creepy story (and for good reason) but I’m so glad I got the chance to read this book. That tough thing will be stopping myself from rereading it monthly from now until the next book comes out.
If you’ve ever seen (and loved) Joss Whedon’s show Firefly or the follow up movie Serenity, there’s a lot here that you’re going to like. There’s a tight knit crew, a similar government setup, a creepy part of space that everyone avoids, and of course, a spaceship that ties it all together. While I love books like Across the Universe and Glow, with their huge passenge liners, there was something so gritty and genuine about Avalon and her crew that’s going to stay with me for a long time.
Avalon follows a crew of teenaged thieves, who are under the thumb of a jerk named Hammer who runs a pretty extensive criminal empire. The captain (and our MC) Jeth just wants to keep his friends and sister safe and buy back his paren’t ship. Of course, from there everything goes a little bit crazy and it’s pretty much non stop tension with the occasional bit of banter thrown in. And I’ve got to say, Mindee Arnett does tension so well. There’s a very creepy space ship scene that basically had me looking over my shoulder, as well as some other moments that I won’t get into because you should definitely discover this story for yourself.
The one, teeny tiny suggestion I would make is fleshing out a few of the other characters, to give the crew a more dynamic vibe. Celeste, Shady, Flynn and Vince all could have used an extra 250 words or so each, spread throughout the book–a mannerism here, a one liner there–so we could get to know them a little better. I still really enjoyed every character, I just would have liked a tiny bit more. Heh, actually this book was so good that I definitely wouldn’t have complained if there had been a lot more of everyone.
If you’re a fan of science fiction, Firefly, or just good storytelling, this is a book you’re definitely going to want to check out. I have high hopes for this series, and will definitely be picking up the prequel novella, Proxy in short order. Nevermind, I just bought it. I’ll probably wait to read it though, otherwise I have no idea how I’ll survive the year I’ll have to wait before picking up book two.
Seriously guys, this book is crazy good. Go read it....more
Where are all the YA mysteries? Seriously, with all the romances floating around, you’d think there would be a few more thrillers out there to even thWhere are all the YA mysteries? Seriously, with all the romances floating around, you’d think there would be a few more thrillers out there to even the odds. Six Months Later offered up a great change of pace from most of the big title YA books out there right now, so I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out to see what Natalie Richards comes out with next. Definitely recommended.
The book starts out reading as a pretty standard contemporary–and then the main character, Chloe, falls asleep. Six months later, she wakes up. Well, sort of. She goes through six months of her life, she just doesn’t remember what happened. Prepare to be pretty confused at first, as Chloe tries to figure out what’s going on. Then frustrated as her parents don’t take her seriously (but at least she tries to tell them… big plus for parental interaction).
When Chloe wakes up “six months later” everything about her life has changed. She’s popular, she’s succeeding in school, and her best friend refuses to talk to her. Plus there’s that pesky memory loss issue. There’s a lot of stuff to work through. Through most of the book, it’s really difficult to remember how past Chloe managed to become now-Chloe, but the mystery itself is really interesting, especially as more characters (therapist, parents, two different boys) start coming into the picture. So many questions! Natalie Richards does a great job of weaving various bits of information into the plot while still keeping the characters both interesting and genuine.
If any of you have recommendations for other YA mysteries, please let me know. I’ve never been a fan of the adult version of the genre, but I’d love to read more like this....more
One day I will be sick of dystopian novels. Today is not that day! I really enjoyed Pawn! This is the first book in The Blackcoat Rebellion series, anOne day I will be sick of dystopian novels. Today is not that day! I really enjoyed Pawn! This is the first book in The Blackcoat Rebellion series, and I’ll be sticking around to see what happens next. The story follows Kitty who is born into poverty and is essentially a ward of the state because her parents chose not to pay the tax needed to have another child. Her life looks like it’s going to take a turn toward something pretty grim when she’s given the opportunity of a lifetime. Kitty has the same eyes as Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, a fact that the most powerful family in the country is willing to use to their advantage. Kitty then goes under the knife to be ‘masked’ to look exactly like Lila who was killed by her own family for stirring the seeds of rebellion.
There are a lot of elements to this story that you’ll have seen before. A caste system of sorts, tattoos, a corrupt goverment, wealth and rebellion, but Aimee Carter brings them all together really nicely. Kitty is a great main character, and the supporting cast all works really well together to tell the story. The romance was lacking a bit from what you usually see in YA, but it didn’t take away from the story at all. Kitty is already in a relationship with Benjy, so there isn’t as much focus on their story, he’s simply her motivation for surviving. I suspect there story might get a little more complicated in the next books in this series, but only time will tell at this point. For now, the lack of love triangle was extremely refreshing.
The plot was jam packed with action from beginning to end–not like fight scenes, explosions levels of action, but there was always soemthing happening. And there were definitely some WHOA moments that I didn’t see coming. Overall, Pawn does a great job of shaking up a somewhat stagnant genre. Highly recommended!...more
I'll admit, it was the cover that initially drew me to requesting Blackout. I'm still not totally sure what it's supposed to be depicting, but I likeI'll admit, it was the cover that initially drew me to requesting Blackout. I'm still not totally sure what it's supposed to be depicting, but I like it. Going even further, I wasn't even sure what the book was really supposed to be about. The story itself didn't quite live up to the cover for me, but it was still an interesting read. Blackout's stories centers on two seemingly random points. 1) Groups of teenagers are roaming the country committing massive acts of terrorism. 2)Random teenagers are gaining special powers. These two things were a bit much for the willing suspension of disbelief part of my brain to take on together, but I still enjoyed the story. The world building was mainily lacking on the terrorist side of things since we get to spend a fair bit of time reading about the abilities and the theories as to why they're happening. It felt like I waited a long time for answers that never came which can always be kind of infuriating.
There are five main (or main-ish) characters who fall into either (and sometimes both) group. Aubrey was the easiest for me to latch onto since she started out not having much of an idea about what was going on, but as she learned the ropes she managed to be competent while still realistically flawed. Before the story even starts she had been trying to use her new powers to climb the social ladder of high school... so you know, not great. But the story leaves her a lot of room to grow into her character and her powers, so her arc ended up becoming my favorite part of the story.
I'll be keeping an eye out for the next book to get a feel for where the plot is headed next before committing to read it. Still, I feel like this could be one of those series with an awesomely plotted payoff in the end. Fingers crossed!...more
I usually try not to review books so far ahead of when they're being published, but when I got the chance for an early peak at this book from a librarI usually try not to review books so far ahead of when they're being published, but when I got the chance for an early peak at this book from a librarian friend... well, I couldn't resist. I read it, I loved it, and now I just really have to talk about it! Plus, this book definitely deserves five months of buzz building!
In Melissa Lander's version of earth, we are definitely not alone. Two years ago we made contact with the L'eihrs, aliens who share a whole lot of DNA with us, but not a lot of culture. Since then, things have definitely been kind of tense. In an attempt to smooth things over and form an aliance, Cara's family is chosen to host a L'eihr teen (who is of course both male and gorgeous). While Cara is a smart, open minded MC, there are a lot of people who definitely don't want to get any closer to our intergalactic neighbors, and even swoon-worthy Aelyx has some alterior motives.
So when I say the political situation is tense, I definitely mean it. I'm sure we can all imagine that no matter how like us or enlightened an alien race seems... well, we don't all handle change and/or newcomers very well. Melissa Landers did a great job of crafting the situation and encorporating a variety of different viewpoints and levels of acceptance. Angry mobs, protests, and lots of misdirected hatred. It's awful, but it all felt very real. This was not an easy book to put down.
The writing was sharp, I loved the political elements and this was just a really great sci-fi read. While I love dystopias, it was a lot of fun to read something with more traditional science fiction elements to it. The book took place on earth, and there were only a handful of non-human characters but that could definitely change for book two, and I'm really looking forward to seeing where this series goes. Highly recommended! And I have no idea how I'm going to survive waiting for book two!...more
Well, for once I’ve read a BIG BUZZ book before the series is already halfway over. A lot of people have been talking about Samantha Shannon’s novel TWell, for once I’ve read a BIG BUZZ book before the series is already halfway over. A lot of people have been talking about Samantha Shannon’s novel The Bone Season, and after listening to this fantastic story, I can see why.
The story takes place in an alternate-history version of London. Paige is an Irish immigrant who must keep her clairvoyant abilities hidden from the government if she wants to stay alive–or so she thinks. Once Paige is caught and arressted, a whole new world is opened up to both her and the reader. There are a lot of very cool elements in play with this series: alternate dimensions, supernatural gangs, zombie like creatures. It’s a something for everyone kind of read.
The plot was kind of slow in some points, but there was a lot of world building going on so it wasn’t difficult to stay interested. Plus, I hear this is supposed to be a large series (seven books?) so I can see why the writer might want to take the time to thoroughly lay the groundwork for future books. For example, we don’t directly see Paige’s friends, but we do get to know them through flashbacks (and I usually hate flashbacks), which will keep the continuity of the series flowing with book two, when those same characters will likely be playing a much larger role.
Characters… Well, I really liked Paige, and some of the other voyants she interacted with along the way. It took me a while to figure out who I was supposed to be rooting for her with romantically, but don’t worry, that plot will show up near the end of the book. Or maybe I just missed all the clues earlier on. That’s entirely possible.
Now for the audiobook elements. The Bone Season is only the second audiobook I’ve ever listened to, but I’m officially hooked. This was narrated by Alana Kerr, and the narration was fantastic. As someone who grew up around a whole lot of Irish people, and lived in Ireland for a while myself, I always LOVE listening to an Irish accent. Love, love, love. And I thought Alana Kerr as Paige was dead on. So perfect! She also did a great job of bringing the other characters to live, including the ones who aren’t human. I will definitely be listening to this entire series in audiobook format if she keeps narrating them!...more
When I went to BEA, evvveeryyonne was talking about Antigoddess. Everyone. And the lineup for ARCs was nuts. Since I hadn’t read any of Kendare Blake’When I went to BEA, evvveeryyonne was talking about Antigoddess. Everyone. And the lineup for ARCs was nuts. Since I hadn’t read any of Kendare Blake’s books before, I opted to pass. Biiiggg mistake! Sufice it to say, I eventually got my hands on this one, and I’m so glad I did! The Greek gods always make for a great story, and Kendare Blake put a fantastic spin on things. Love, love, love!
The storyline mainly follows to characters–Athena, the eternal Goddess who is slowly dying, and Cassandra, a human prophetess, reborn into our world with no memory of her ancient role. I really liked Cassandra, which had a lot to do with her relationship with dreamy Aiden, but also because she came across as very real and genuine, despite her paranormal ability. Athena was definitely less likeable, very much in line with the Greek gods of old. She makes some interesting growth across throughout the story though.
Essentially, we have reached the twilight of the gods. Everyone is taking sides and teaming up to take out the opposition. Only one group can live, while the others waste away in a variety of poetically appropriate ways. The amount of craft that went into creating this world shows some real understanding of the ancient myths, and I absolutely loved everything about the plot. The writing probably could have grabbed me a bit more, but that’s really my only complaint–that I wasn’t quite hooked enough to for-go food and sleep.
I’m not entirely sure what I expected after reading the blurb for If You Could Be Mine–there are just so many unique elements here. Set in Iran. Cent I’m not entirely sure what I expected after reading the blurb for If You Could Be Mine–there are just so many unique elements here. Set in Iran. Centered around a lezbian relationship. Transgendered elements. It’s a lot to take in, but Sara Farizan pulls it off. This is a fairly quick read, but there’s a lot to take in from beginning to end.
For all the LGBT qualities, what I found most interesting was the look at modern day life in Iran. It’s not easy to be a woman in the middle east, and being gay makes things infinitely harder. All that being said, IYCBM (long title) is a love story. Sahar loves Nasrin so much, and will do anything to be with her. Both of these girls are such complex characters. Nasrin drives me crazy–she’s incredibly selfish and immature, but her relationship with Sahar is genuine and organic.
I had many chances to get my hands on an ARC of Fangirl over the past few months, and I passed them all up. The syI made a horrible, horrible mistake.
I had many chances to get my hands on an ARC of Fangirl over the past few months, and I passed them all up. The synopsis didn’t really speak to me. Or perhaps, I just wasn’t listening. Last week, I read a gushing recommendation about how great Fangirl is, so I caved and sent in a review request. Three days later, I started reading. A few hours after that, I was done, and totally in love. Fangirl is a fantastic book and absolutely recommended to anyone and everyone.
The main character Cath is a fanfic writer, and a popular one at that. She’s obsessed with Simon Snow–a fictional fantasy series that is basically Harry Potter, although Hogwards exists in this world too–and has spent years writing fanfic in his world, to the point where real life just doesn’t seem that important anymore. Buuut, that barely scratches the surface of Cath’s character, her complicated relationships and the challenges she faces in her first year of university. Despite not being a fanfic writer, and rarely reaching obsessive fangirl status for anything, I could really relate to Cath and some of the social issues she faced in being thrown out of her comfort zone and into the world of booze, parties and people that frequently suck.
“In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can’t google.) Like, where does the line start? What food can you take? Where are you supposed to stand,then where are you supossed to sit? Where do you go when you’re done, why is everyone watching you?…Bah.”
Come on, we’ve all been there.
Bah! I just want to go read this book again.
Despite the social anxiety that drips off the pages of this book, it’s a really hopeful story that will restore a little of your faith in the human race. The romance is heart-flutteringly sweet, the family bonds are complex and genuine and Rainbow Rowell brings all of Cather’s complicated feelings to life in a way that will make you want to reach into the book and start hugging people.
I saw the cover for Scorched by Mari Mancusi and knew I had to read it. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve read a book about dragons. UnfortunatelI saw the cover for Scorched by Mari Mancusi and knew I had to read it. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve read a book about dragons. Unfortunately, there wasn’t quite as much dragon action as I was hoping for, but it was still a really fun read. The first half of the book was action packed, engaging and wonderful, after that things got a little confused, but I’m eager to see where this series goes next.
I enjoyed the main trio of characters–who can say no to twin brothers? Not me! There’s a love triangle here, but the celebrity love that the guys have for Trinity is a new take and pretty compelling. The dragon was a more hit and miss character for me. She spends most of the book inside an egg, and the book’s dragon action mainly takes place in a dreamscape.
If you’re looking for a female twist on Eragon, this isn’t it. The book takes place in modern times (and sort of, the future), and there isn’t a lot of action. Still a recommended read though, especially if you’re looking for a cool infusion of fantasy into our world....more
Partials was a bit of an unsteady read... I'm still not even sure if the rating I gave it was the right one. Don't get me wrong, it was a really goodPartials was a bit of an unsteady read... I'm still not even sure if the rating I gave it was the right one. Don't get me wrong, it was a really good read, and I'm glad I picked this book up, it was just somewhat inconsistant. I remember reading the first page and tweeting that I was already sure I was going to love the book. Then I read a few more chapters and promptly lost interest for a few weeks. Once I muddled through the first half of the book, things started to pick up again and once I reached the home stretch, there was no turning back--I had to read until the end!
The dystopian world that Dan Wells created for this book was interesting, but not all that original. People make robots - robots rebel - war devestates life as we know it. There were some areas that can definitely be further developed for the rest of the series, which I think will go a long way toward making this world a memorable one. I did really enjoy the political side of the story and getting a bit of insider information into how the government functions, which is something you don't see much of despite the slew of dystopian sci-fi options out there. The additional complication of the human's war with the Partials having left the humans unable to bare children made for an interesting addition to the story, though I never quite felt the urgencry of 'oh crap, we're going to die out if we don't get this sorted'.
I'll probably be reading book two in this series by the end of the summer as I really am curious to see what happens next to Kira and her friends....more
It took me a long time to write this review… I’m conflicted! Not two souls in one body conflicted, but conflicted all the same. I still love the conc It took me a long time to write this review… I’m conflicted! Not two souls in one body conflicted, but conflicted all the same. I still love the concept of Kat Zhangs, hybrid universe. When the series started, Eva was tucked away inside her sisters body. Everyone is born with two souls inside their body, but one soul eventually fades. But not all souls. Eva and Addie are hybrids (or are they one hybrid?). By book two, Eva has control as often as her sister does… which is good for Eva, but the book quickly becomes basically any other dystopian story. But hey, who doesn’t like dystopian stories?
Once We Were takes place not long after the events of book one. Now Addie and Eva are living in hiding, and being drawn into the hybrid rebellion. The first part of the book was really slow, and a bit of a struggle to get through. The characters were all bored, and we were definitely feeling it. Once they’re pulled further into the rebellion, things definitely pick up. There’s a lot going on and each of the 3/6 main characters has conflicted feelings about everything that’s going on. Main character Eva is definitely gung-ho, but the feelings of her friends keep things interesting.
As the rebel group becomes more confident, it becomes easy to equate their actions/plans with domestic terrorism, which is where things became quite interesting. When does rebellion cross the line? You may be in the right and fighting for your own right, but how far is too far? Of course, I’m not going to answer any of that right now… but this book will make you think! And really, can there be a higher recommendation than that?
Overall, I still preferred book one, but I will definitely be sticking with this series to see what happens next!...more