I so enjoyed my reading of Ultraviolet Catastrophe by Jamie Grey.
Jamie Grey has a writing style that flows easily. Ultraviolet Catastrophe is a quick read with a fun premise and it’s positively rife with nerdy references and humor. When the main character, Lexie, mentioned owning a TARDIS cookie jar, I about fell over. And the references don’t end there. With a cast of characters that are born to genius and excel at science, the references fit.
Especially when they come from Asher Rosen, who makes nerdy T-shirts look damn good. Guys, I crushed hard on Asher. He has a bunch of one-liners that made me giggle, he’s smart, and he’s gorgeous. He’s a little cocky and has a reputation as a being sort of a ladies’ man, but somehow it works– he doesn’t come off as a douchenozzle.
I really loved the development of his relationship with Lexie. Instant attraction is obvious, but most of the time Lexie is pretty level-headed about her crush, which I appreciated. They develop as friends first– albeit flirty friends. I also enjoyed the side characters as well, such as Max and Zella– though Zella threw me off a bit. She can’t seem to decide if she wants to be nice to Lexie or not.
And I really enjoyed the fact that an important plot element in Ultraviolet Catastrophe was Lexie’s relationship with her parents– most notably her dad. Because of the decisions her parents made in order to protect her, her relationship with her father is a distant one, and even more fragmented over the revelations of her past.
As for Lexie herself, she was a fun character– despite her genius, she’s easy to relate to and funny. At times, I felt like we rehashed her anger with her parents a little too much– and sometimes reacts in a way that made me want to roll my eyes. HOWEVER, did she feel like an authentic teenager in those instances? Most def.
The science of the book was fairly easy to follow. Some explanations made my eyes gloss over, but I suspect that’s years of disengaging in science courses at school at work, rather than Grey’s writing. Lexie’s evolution from her drugged genius to bonafide genius seemed a bit inconsistent at times, most notably in the beginning, but Ultraviolet Catastrophe recovered from that stumbling block as the plot progressed.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the mystery at play– someone is sabotaging Quantum’s Einstein-Rosen bridge, and it’s plotted extremely well– including the climax and resolution. I can say no more! You’ll have to read Ultraviolet Catastrophe by Jamie Grey for yourself and find out. ^_~(less)
Though I never became involved in superhero fandoms (unless you count Sailor Moon), I love me a good superhero story. Love t...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
Though I never became involved in superhero fandoms (unless you count Sailor Moon), I love me a good superhero story. Love them like… I watched Heroes, I reblog almost every Avengers joke I come across on Tumblr, and I’m pretty much the only person I know who likes the movie Superman Returns. (I noticed a few tributes to said superhero culture, and I suspect that bigger superhero fans than I am would notice even more.)
So when I heard about the plot of Leigh Ann Kopans’s One, I had a feeling I wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation. And I’m glad I didn’t because I really enjoyed my time in the One universe with Leigh Ann Kopans’s main character Merrin.
I’m not going to ignore my issues with it. They existed, but they weren’t glaring. I did feel like the parents’ personalities shifted from time to time, certain points were predictable, and a few plot points were a little too “easy” or glossed over. They seemed explained away. And at the beginning, the world was a little info-dumped on me.
But I forgive those things easily when things like superpowers and a main character that I can relate to are around. Merrin had a great voice and is relatable– her fears of relying on others and not living up her her potential came through great. She’s down to earth (…in as much as someone whose power is FLOATING can be) and fierce.
I liked her love interest as well. Elias is handsome and cute and… I’m not sure why, but something about the way Kopans described the glasses he wears had me all swoony. There’s instant attraction between Elias and Merrin, which felt real because it didn’t make the jump to instalove. That developed a over the course of their relationship.
Do I hope to see the issues that I had with the book resolved? Sure. I think those improvements would make Two even better. But even if the sequel has the same issues as One, I think that I’ll still enjoy it a great deal. - See more at: http://www.almostgrownup.net/2013/06/...(less)
Okay, so, Unremembered by Jessica Brody didn’t exactly change my life.
I liked it well enough. The book lent itself well to quick reading– I was astonished by how quickly I hit those 50 page increments. I even think that I could have read it in one sitting, but to be perfectly honest, I’ve been pressed for time, and it didn’t ‘hold’ me enough. It was… put-down-able? That sounds AWFUL, but I don’t really mean it as a bad thing. I appreciated that I could set it aside and come back to it easily. Through Jessica Brody’s fabulous writing, I would be quickly swept back into Seraphina’s story when I picked it up again.
And the story is… well, fairly predictable. There was one slight twist that I didn’t predict, but almost everything was pretty easy to call. It put me somewhat in the mind of Mary E. Pearson’s Fox Chronicles– which is to say, it’s stuff that’s sort of been done before.
I hate that this is coming off like a negative review: I liked reading Unremembered. If you need a quick read and don’t mind predictability, I think you should read it. But if you’re expecting a whole lot of uniqueness… don’t. (less)
You guys, do not even TRY to hold me down while I fangirl flail over The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. It...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
Oh. My. Word.
You guys, do not even TRY to hold me down while I fangirl flail over The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. It’s a little dystopia, a little sci-fi/paranormal, and I was feeling very “meh” about anything even RESEMBLING the dystopian genre, but WHOOSH, Alexandra Bracken whisked my doubts away.
Ruby lives in a world where the kids who are still alive are regarded by society with fear– they’re Psis, or people with psychic abilities, and the government hates them so much that for the past six years, Ruby’s been locked up in a “rehabilitation camp.”
There were small notes of the novel that reminded me chillingly of the Holocaust. Psis, for example, are forced to wear a Psi symbol and a color that denotes which type of Psi that they are. They’re in these awful camps, where experiments used to be performed. It’s awful. The world that Alexandra Bracken created in The Darkest Minds is desolate and depressing. But that makes me that much more sympathetic to Ruby’s plight.
When she gets out of her camp, Thurmond, I bonded with Ruby even more. Because God, she is just so, so scared of the world around her and she has every reason to be. There’s no one to protect her, and if she gets caught, it’s probably a death sentence. With the powers and the way that society regards them, the Psis reminded me a little of the mutants of X-men, but Ruby doesn’t exactly have a Professor Xavier to guide her on her way. In fact, almost no one can really be trusted. But, thankfully she runs into other Psis on the run.
And as Ruby emerges from her shell bit by bit, she and her companions (who slowly earn that trust) become some of my favorite characters in recent memory.
They call a van named Black Betty home, and they are all so different from each other, but have managed to form this pseudo-family regardless. There’s Zu or Suzume, the adorable child (who, by the way, I was terrified the whole book was going to go the route of Rue), who manages to be a fully developed character though she doesn’t speak a single word. Chubs, who is extremely cautious and wary to outsiders, to the point where he comes off antisocial and asshole-ish. He likes books and learning (and book blogging!) and takes a while to warm up to, but then becomes an incredible friend. I related to Chubs EXTREMELY well.
But Liam… he needs a paragraph all his own. Hello, Swoontown USA. With his non-condescending “darlin’s,” and a bit of a hero complex, Liam is just WONDERFUL. He’s funny and stays good and upbeat through most of the novel, which is believable because we get to see the cracks in his molding here and there. And his relationship with Ruby is just… GUH. There is so much SLOW BURN. We see initial attraction, but neither of them jump straight to “GIRL/BOY, I wanna have your babies.” There’s the build-up. From strangers to friends, from friends to more-than-friends, and from more-than-friends to…
To the ending, which left me reeling and screaming.
Look, I don’t want to spoil this book for you, so that’s going to have to be all I say about the ending. Please read this book. Please?
To sum up: Read it. Please please please read it. (less)
When I started For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund, all that I knew about it was that it was a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Word had not yet reached me that it was science-fiction… or, more importantly, THAT IT WAS AWESOME.
But I am here to vouch for the fact that it is one awesome, sci-fi, dystopian-esque, Austenite retelling.
I found it a little confusing at first as the world and characters were set up, but I’m telling you, guys, if you’re reading For Darkness Shows the Stars or plan to read it, muscle your way past that because it is so SO worth it. Once you get it, the world clicks into place and the story becomes so textured and gorgeous.
I love the world that Diana Peterfreund constructed in For Darkness Shows the Stars and I think that that is a big part of what gives the story such an amazing feel. It’s the future, yes. And yes, it’s science fiction. But the society is constructed in a way that hearkens back to class systems of the old days with the Luddites playing the part of the nobility. Although, HOLLER for a society that isn’t totally patriarchal in this case because women can be Luddite lords just as easily as men.
And, as I said, I think that vibe of old-timey-ness, from the fashions to the fixations on titles and estates, is what gives such an authentic feel.
Also, Luddites? They believe in keeping things “as God intended.” That means basically no scientific improvements. Really, it means no progress. Diana Peterfreund carries that element of nature through with some of her gorgeous metaphors and descriptions. They’re made all the more effective by the fact that the North estate is a farm and thus even more tied to nature than some other Luddite estates might be.
So now we come to Elliot, the daughter of the Baron North. And guys? I adore Elliot. She’s got this great and passionate love in the form of one, Kai alias Malakai Wentforth, but her father and sister are terrible at running the land and taking care of the people on it. She indulges herself in her feelings– she’s only human, but she is so heartwrenchingly mature about the decisions she feels she must make for the good of others.
Further, Elliot is so conflicted because Luddite ideals are entering a stage for her when they don’t completely make sense. They have the tools for improvement, but the protocols have been put in place to keep them all safe… right? It’s heresy– it’s arrogance to think any other way.
And then… guys, then there is Kai. And he is so cold and standoffish to Elliot and it breaks my damn heart when I compare it to the letters (placed between chapters) that their younger selves exchanged. Their scenes have so much underlying tension that–
No lie, I just stopped typing to clutch at my heart. It’s that amazing.
Now. I have not yet read Persuasion. HOWEVER. Diana Peterfreund executed her version of the story so beautifully in For Darkness Shows the Stars that I’m adding it to my classics must-read list.
Overall rating: 5/5. For Darkness Shows the Stars is a positively gorgeous retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion with superb language and layered characters.(less)
Though I didn’t have the opportunity to read Cat Patrick’s deubt novel, Forgotten, I heard nothing but praise for it. It was...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
Though I didn’t have the opportunity to read Cat Patrick’s deubt novel, Forgotten, I heard nothing but praise for it. It was an easy decision for me to add Revived to my TBR.
Daisy Appleby is, for the most part, a completely ordinary girl. She doesn’t have superpowers. She runs a blog with her best friend and she’s a little overly fond of interior decorating. Totally normal. Except Daisy has died five times. In fact, Patrick sucks you into her novel immediately as Daisy is stung by a bee and dies for the fifth time. I sort of had “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence echoing in my head when I read this.
Revived is rooted in a contemporary world with one small touch of science-fiction: a drug that can bring people can to life. Patrick doesn’t go overmuch into the specifics of how the drug works, which I honestly appreciated. I bought it anyway due to Daisy’s character the secret organization atmosphere. If she’d gone into technicalities, there was a chance that my head would have have deemed it boring and half started trying to find flaws in the logic.
Many teens– and heck, people in general– seem to feel like they are invincible, taking unnecessary risks. Daisy is no different from them, perhaps a little flippant at the idea of death in certain aspects. But even Revive has its limitations, and watching Daisy come to grips with that is heart-rending.
But no wonder she feels that way. The program is entirely sacreligious, with this flagrant disregard for a higher power or even that death is permanent. The head of the program is nicknamed God because he decides who lives or dies. His agents are disciples. With that kind of power-trip, it’s not shocking when Daisy discovers corruption in the system.
After her fifth death, when Daisy and her makeshift family of agents relocate to a new town, Daisy develops a friendship with a girl a few lockers down from her named Audrey. Audrey is her first real friend outside the program, and you know? Props to Cat Patrick for healthy friendships in Revived. There is not a single instance of one of them trying to tear down the other for her own good.
And then there is Audrey’s brother, Matt. Daisy thinks he’s hot right off the bat, but we don’t jump right into insta-love with this romance. It’s more of a slow burn as we go down the checklist. Cute? check. Sense of humor? Check. Likes to be with his family? Check. Gives me swoony feelings in my chest? Checkcheckcheck. Not one bit of their romance feels contrived, even when Matt and Daisy are trying to find their way back to each other.
Daisy’s family may be makeshift, but she has a stellar father figure in Mason. He raises her with a sense of trust, lets her try to be a normal teen. Despite his secret agent man dealio, I wanted to reach into the book and give him a hug.
Overall rating: 4/5. A believable novel with one major twist of science-fiction, Revived makes you wonder how you’d act if death wasn’t a permanent option.(less)
I really did not have very high expectations of Eve & Adam. To be honest, the few sci-fi novels that I read this year (...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
I really did not have very high expectations of Eve & Adam. To be honest, the few sci-fi novels that I read this year (excepting, of course, Scarlet) left me reluctant to keep on keeping on with the genre. The plots had been poorly executed with little character development and nothing stand-out about the writing. But Eve & Adam stood apart in the best of ways.
Told from dual perspectives, each voice is clear and distinct. Perhaps this is due to the collaboration between husband and wife duo, Grant & Applegate. Regardless of the cause, however, Solo and Eve are both wonderful characters with developed personalities and complex motivations. Also, hooray for Eve having a best friend that was not annoying as hell, but funny, flawed, and a good friend! I believe crappy besties to be a plague in many YA novels
I was particularly fascinated by the compound of Spiker pharmaceuticals. The authors managed to draw it out for me so that I had a clear picture of the setting. I pictured a very sterile, techy environments. The science of the novel is probably questionable, but 1) it’s science fiction and 2) I was an English major, so unless they tried to convince me that the sky was brown or something, nothing jarred me from the world of the novel to point a finger and go “WAIT.”
I really loved the direction that they went with “Adam.” The summary makes it sound super dark and creepy, but instead it was more of an interesting contemplation of perfection and how perfection is really subjective.
Along with this… twists, guys! Twists all OVAH the place! And they didn’t feel contrived, like the authors were just throwing them out there to be like “BAM. SURPRISE.” Not that I wasn’t surprised, but they made sense.
To sum up: If you’re looking for a sci-fi novel that takes place within a world you recognize, you couldn’t ask for a quicker and more enjoyable ride than Eve & Adam.(less)
So. Ummmm… 172 Hours on the Moon was terrifying. In a totally good way, of course, but my God. If this had been a movie bein...morePosted to Almost Grown-up:
So. Ummmm… 172 Hours on the Moon was terrifying. In a totally good way, of course, but my God. If this had been a movie being played in front of me I probably would have had my knuckles turning white while I tried not to scream. Or I would have been screaming. EITHER OR.
The novel begins with plans to send another voyage to the moon and as part of a publicity stunt, the powers-that-be decide to hold a lottery across the world to allow three teenagers to join in and spend 172 hours on the moon aboard the moon base DARLAH 2. We’re introduced to Mia from Norway, Midori from Japan, and Antoine from France.
Though we don’t get any major character building, Midori was by far my favorite mostly because I got to see her being adorable in Japan and her name is Midori, just like one of my my favorite drinks. Plus I thought Mia was a little bit of a brat and Antoine was a TOTAL CREEP. I guess it kind of makes sense that if any characters hook up, it would be the two of them, even though it happens so out of nowhere that it feels contrived.
But there’s hardly time to think about that because while 172 Hours on the Moon was mildly intriguing, things started to GO DOWN around a quarter way through. And once they get to the moon? OH MY GOD GUYS, things get REAL. Every twist the book, took I was struck by the urge to flail and yell “WHAT IS HAPPENING?!”
I was comforted by what I knew from the synopsis, but then that comfort gets TORN AWAY. It ends in a way I just did not see coming and when I finished the novel I felt vaguely dumbstruck.
And still a little scared. In fact, I’m a little scared just remembering my reading of it now.
Overall rating: 4/5. A great book to scare the pants off you, if that’s the sort of no pants time you’re into. If I thought my heart could take it, I’d definitely read more translated works by Norwegian author Johan Harstad.(less)
Issues in bullet points: -Thrown into Zoe’s struggle/”glitching” without any set-up of her world or...morePosted to Almost Grown-up
Furthest point reached: 13%
Issues in bullet points: -Thrown into Zoe’s struggle/”glitching” without any set-up of her world or life -Insta-love-esque feel -Hard to suspend disbelief that she was not only glitching, but that it created superpowers in her as well -Finally, a certain scene that seemed like it was written to establish a certain character as “good” and the society as “bad,” but only succeeded in making my feminist feels RISE.
Summation: Some of these are personal preferences while others are, I believe, weaknesses in the plotting. The novel may have improved as it went on, and it may work better for others. But it didn’t enthrall me enough to continue on. Unfortunately, I had to mark it as:
Scarlet. Where do I begin, you guys? I’m just coming down from a reread of Scarlet, so how about with the tried and true FANGIRL FLAIL? It is so rare that within a week I have two reviews going up of books that I love this much, and I’m LOVING it.
I suppose the fair thing to do would be to start my review of Scarlet by talking about one of the main characters, and the book’s namesake, Scarlet Benoit. I’m loving how Marissa Meyer managed to make a second kick-ass female MC in this sequel to Cinder, and has a second mystery for us to unravel– the mystery of her grandmother’s disappearance and past. Scarlet and Cinder are both the main POVs in Scarlet and both have distinctively strong personalities. I would want to be BFFs with either one (or both), easy and it was amazing to see their stories come together.
Having talked about the kick-butt girls, I would now like to talk about the boys. GUYS. This is another “Where do I begin?” scenario because there is a cornucopia of swoony boys present in the pages of Scarlet. There’s this guy named Kai (IDK, you may remember him from the first book?), but IN ADDITION, let us add: Captain Carswell Thorne who is so quirkily funny and cocky and perfect.
But Thorne’s day in the sun has yet to come, so really the person we need to talk about here is WOLF. And may I just say? Rawr. (Ah-ooo?) He’s so quiet and mysterious, and it’s a really interesting contrast with the ferocity that he unleashes from time to time. Plus, despite the fact that the events in Scarlet take place in a very short amount of time and the book is extraordinarily fast-paced (Seriously, NEVER A DULL MOMENT), the relationship between Wolf and Scarlet manages to feel fully-developed, without the insta-love element that often drives me mad.
Other things that cannot go without a mention: Marissa’s amazing world-building, for one. I talked about this in my review of Cinder, but now that the world (so to speak– this is a sci-fi novel after all, and there is more than just one world to contend with) is expanding we learn more, and it’s never presented in an info-dumpy way. It grows more and more fascinating.
I also want to nod to the way that Marissa caught her readers up with what happened in Cinder. This was something I noticed on my reread, but it’s so perfectly mixed into the book’s opening. Again, none of the boring info-dump that is a commonality in many series from book to book. The “catch-up” is part of the action.
But one of my favorite things about Scarlet is the humor. I legitimately laughed out loud multiple times. And the dialogue! It’s so snappy and on-the-money. So perfect.
To sum up: Whether you read it once, twice, three times, or ten times, I think you’ll find something new to love about Scarlet on every read.(less)
I have yet to read a book by Scott Westerfeld that I did not like and Extras is not an exception to this rule. But I had sti...morePosted on Almost Grown-up
I have yet to read a book by Scott Westerfeld that I did not like and Extras is not an exception to this rule. But I had still been hesitant to pick it up for some time. I knew why. I had grown attached to Tally over the course of the other three Uglies book. I couldn’t imagine stepping back into the world that I so firmly thought of as hers without her!
But when I cracked open Extras, those thoughts vanished because the new world that had grown while Tally had been away was almost unrecognizable. A great deal of the vernacular was the same and the history and events of the Uglies series were certainly taken into account, but the way that things are run have changed.
Everyone is rated and ranked on their popularity on their personal “channel.” The instant you meet someone and know their name, you know their rank and by extension what their lifestyle must be like. I have to say, especially in these days of Klout and social media it doesn’t sound entirely far-fetched. Makes you wonder…
When Aya goes undercover to “kick” a story about her new friends the Sly Girls and what she’s found with them, she’s thrust into fame, her life changing instantaneously. But the cameras aren’t the only things looking for her.
With a touch more romance that the other Uglies book, I finally feel satisfied with the way the Uglies world has been left.
Some bonus factors for me:
-a Tally reappearance
-References to manga eyes (this just made my fangirl heart squee)
Overall rating: 4/5. Don’t wait as long as I did to pick up Extras.(less)
I'd like to take a moment to thank NetGalley for having this book because I wouldn't have known about it otherwise....morePosted on Almost Grown-up: 9/22/11:
I'd like to take a moment to thank NetGalley for having this book because I wouldn't have known about it otherwise. None of my Goodreads friends have added it. Yet.
(Yes, that means I think they should)
Kayla is a Tankborn and now, upon, her fifteenth birthday she has received her Assignment. But it's not what she thought it would be. Not how she's been taught things work. In working for the elderly high-class Trueborn, Zul, Kayla is drawn into a plot that completely subverts everything she's ever known. Everything she's ever been taught. Everything she's ever believed in.
Amid science fiction galore, enduring friendships, and enough romance to make my heart pitter-patter, Kayla and company must race in an alliance fraught with old prejudices to uncover a conspiracy and save innocent lives.
This dystopian novel is well worth the read.(less)
I have literally been looking forward to this book for years. I grew up reading Meyer’s Sailor Moon fanfiction and followed her livejournal account of her writing adventues. She was one of my favorite fanfiction authors. I think I can safely remove the word “fanfiction” from that title after reading Cinder. Meyer’s become one of my favorite authors, full stop, with her debut novel.
As one could probably infer from the title, Cinder is a futuristic reimagining of the fairy tale of Cinderella. The tale begins when Prince Kai asks Cinder to repair his android and, in the very same day, plague strikes close to home. Enjoy the quiet peace of the first few pages of the novel. Things quickly turn into a roller coaster ride of a book.
The relationship between Kai and Cinder is one that you really have to appreciate. Unlike so many other books out there, it isn’t part of the insta-love phenomenon that is the bane of my existence a little unrealistic. We grow to know both Kai and Cinder in their own right, understand the various pressures that they both find themselves under. And then, we see that seed of attraction that we can spot early on grow.
There is definitely enough romance to make lovers of it swoon, but I also loved being taken along for Cinder’s ride full of self-discovery. She learns things about her mysterious past that I never saw coming, and Meyer threw twist after twist that just left me reeling.
And let’s have a look at Meyer’s world-building for a moment: It’s more than fitting that for a futuristic novel, the villains are ones that we can’t even find on earth. It’s fitting also that the unusual “draft” only affects cyborgs who aren’t considered entirely human because of technology, and that arguably Cinder’s closest friend is an android named Iko (I totally want an android like Iko to give me fashion advice, by the way. She was adorable!). The way that the day-to-day technology is written, such as “coms” or “netscreens,” makes it seem day-to-day. I was never wondering what exactly they did, every device just seemed like something that belonged there.
Fair warning, the book ends on a wicked cliffhanger. You will want Book 2: Scarlet in hand promptly and, if you’re like me, will want to thrash around on the floor, beating your fists, crying “WHY?!” as in “WHY don’t I have Scarlet yet?!”
But it’s worth it. Meyer’s writing has all of the charm of a traditional fairy tale with the extra zap! of technology and wonderful characters to give it pizazz.
Overall rating: 5/5. I have a new favorite series. Move this book to the top of your TBR pile NOW. But don’t come crying to me over the cliffhanger please. I’m just barely recovering myself.(less)