Reviews, Special Review

ARC Review: Recoil by Joanne Macgregor

Recoil

Goodreads Summary:

When a skilled gamer gets recruited as a sniper in the war against a terrorist-produced pandemic, she discovers there’s more than one enemy and more than one war. The Game is real.

Three years after a series of terrorist attacks flooded the US with a lethal plague, society has changed radically.

Sixteen year-old Jinxy James spends her days trapped at home – immersed in virtual reality, worrying about the plague and longing for freedom. Then she wins a war simulation game and is recruited into a top-secret organisation where talented teenagers are trained to become agents in the war on terror. Eager to escape her mother’s over-protectiveness and to serve her country, Jinxy enlists and becomes an expert sniper of infected mutant rats.

She’s immediately drawn to Quinn O’Riley, a charming and subversive intelligence analyst who knows more about the new order of government and society than he is telling. Then a shocking revelation forces Jinxy to make an impossible decision, and she risks losing everything.

Recoil is the first book in a Young Adult dystopian romance trilogy, and makes great reading for lovers of Rick Yancey (The Fifth Wave), Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games), and Veronica Roth (Divergent).

My Review:

Recoil is the most recent work by Joanne Macgregor. It takes place in modern day United States, three years after a terrorist attack used biological chemicals to unleash a plague. The story is very realistic dystopian fiction. It’s full of elements that terrorist attacks cause- hyper-awareness of foreign residents, larger defense industry, mass media reporting on threats, politician comments about terrorists.

Jinxy starts out naive, playing a game that eventually leads to recruitment with the military. She takes the words of the media, politicians, and her unit commander Sarge for face value- believes they have the people’s best interests at heart. At 16, it makes sense that she would trust those older than her. It isn’t until Jinxy meets Quinn that she starts to question her missions, especially when he finds out she is a sniper. Jinxy understands why she needs to shoot the infected rats, but when she is required to shoot other animals, and eventually is given more classified missions, she has a difficult time, trying to reconcile herself and her values with the values of her unit and the military. Macgregor does an excellent job of showing Jinxy’s progression from being naive to doubting herself and her missions to taking matters into her own hands, making her own educated decisions.

Quinn is a fascinating character. He is also super hot with an Irish accent (swoon). He does what is required of him, but also has his own secrets that are kept from Jinxy. He helps Jinxy open her eyes and understand that her missions are not what she is being told. There is a strong attraction between them, but her missions separate them- pit on against the other. I will say I had a difficult time with the start  of their relationship. It just sort of happens and I couldn’t figure out what drew them to each other. But by the end Macgregor had me rooting for their relationship. And the way the book ends, I just need to know what happens next.

There is a quote in the book- “We’ve repatriated hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of foreign residents, refugees, and workers. We’ve insulated ourselves, sealed our boarders against immigrants and imports and competition… And as a nation we’ve channeled billions into a defense industry that was sitting idle after the last wars fizzled out.” It is scary how closely it describes our current country. We have a presidential candidate who wants to build a wall on the US/Mexican boarder to keep illegal immigrants out; we have alienated anyone who looks middle eastern and have grouped all those who practice Islam into the terrorist stereo type. This novel is so realistic I can see something like this possibly happening.

If you enjoy dystopian settings, this is a great start to a fascinating realistic series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

I’d like to thank Joanne Macgregor for providing me with an ARC. Receiving this ARC for free does not influence my opinion in any way.

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Reviews

Book Review: The Crown by Kiera Cass

The Crown (The Selection #5)

GoodReads Summary:

In The Heir, a new era dawned in the world of The Selection. Twenty years have passed since America Singer and Prince Maxon fell in love, and their daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own.

Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult—and more important—than she ever expected.

My Review:

I have to say that I really The Selection Series and was excited to have an extension of that series with new characters. The Heir was pleasing and engaging; The Crown was nothing less than clever.

The Crown picks up right where The Heir left off. Eadlyn has narrowed the Selection down to the Elite- six guys remaining including country favorites Hale and Kile. As the novel moves, you watch Eadlyn go on dates with the guys all while handling being Queen Regent due to her mother’s heart attack and her father’s need to be at America’s side.

I was rooting the entire time for one particular male in the Selection, but as I finished the  book it became clear that someone else has Eadlyn’s heart… it was painfully obvious. But I will say the choice she made is one of the heart; I will never say that her decision was wrong.

The overall story felt rushed and was lacking in detail. It felt like Marid Illea was a side plot randomly thrown in. I wish there was more between Eadlyn and the guy she picked to be her husband, because while I did see it coming, it felt rushed as well. The epilogue left me wanting more. It too felt rushed and was much too short for my liking. I wanted a glimpse at Eadlyn’s wedding day or something of her and her husband.

While I do have issues, I still really enjoyed the story, so much so I finished the book in a few hours. That is why I am giving it 4 out of 5 stars. Because, honestly, I would read it again…

Rating: 4 out of 5

Reviews, YA Fantasy, ya romance

Book Review: Winter & The Lunar Chronicles By Marissa Meyer

Goodreads summary:

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

review:

Since this is a review of the last book in The Lunar Chronicles series. Short reviews for the first three books are first, followed by the review for Winter.

Cinder:

I liked the introduction to the main character Cinder. She does get on my nerves, but her family was so much worse. I love that she is a cyborg. Iko is so feisty. Oh Kai, what a dream boat! I love that she and Kai have a connection right away. Dr. Erland is mysterious. And I kept thinking Konn Torin worked for Queen Lavana.

3 OUT OF 5

SCARLET:

This is my favorite book of the series. I connected to Scarlet on a psychological level. She just wants to find her grand-mere and run her farm. And Wolf- ugh love him. Their chemistry is everything a relationship should be. We get a lot of Scarlet’s point of view, which is a nice break from Cinder. Captain Carswell Thorne- YUMMY! He can be my captain any day. Lots of character growth from all the characters- it was needed immensely. Except Cinder made alllllll the wrong decisions.

5 OUT OF 5

Cress:

I did enjoy Cress but not as much as I enjoyed Scarlet. I figured out who Cress was at the beginning and where she fit in with the group. She annoyed me a lot because all of her experiences were so “oh it’s so beautiful” or she was scared the whole time. I feel that some of the descriptions could’ve been taken out. I skipped some pages of Cress’ because it was too much. We got a lot of reading time with other characters which I loved! Also, how all the characters end up together is just too convenient. Cinder wasn’t as annoying as she was in Scarlet but her decisions, which have annoyed me from the beginning, don’t get any better.

4 OUT OF 5

WINTER:

It. Was. Too. Long. My ebook was 1,169 pages. Hard copy is about 800 pages. And the length wouldn’t bother me so much if there weren’t many scenes that felt unnecessary. I don’t need to be told that Winter is crazy. Over. And over. And over again. Yeah, I get that Levana wants to kill Cinder. How many times do we have to watch her try and fail? The constant dividing and bring back together of Scarlet, Kai, Iko, Wolf, Cinder, Cress, Thorne, Winter, and Jacin was just too much. Also the final scene between Cinder and Levana- it took too long. I was so excited to start this book but by the end I was just like “is this over yet?”. I will concede that there were moments where my heart hurt and I was worried about the love the author created- whether these couples would end up together or if someone would die.

It didn’t end how I pictured it. My ideal ending would have been Scarlet abdicating the throne, Winter getting an implant to help with her Lunar Gift and becoming Queen- the people loved her so much. Cinder would then have gone back to the Commonwealth and married Kai and become Empress. It. Just. Makes. Sense.

I liked Winter but it could have been better. Bright side- everyone get some kind of happy ending.

2.5 OUT OF 5

OVERALL:

It was a different take on Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White. I love the futuristic and sci-fi elements. I want to be a cyborg now. I want hover-pods. I want to live on the moon. I want to find an alpha mate like Wolf. Scarlet was my favorite character. She didn’t make stupid decisions like Cinder. She wasn’t afraid all the time like Cress. And she wasn’t crazy like Winter. She was independent and a great leader. She thought about her actions before taking action.

3.5 OUT OF 5

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Reviews, YA Dystopian

Book Review: The Rose Society By Marie Lu

Written by Liz Brooks

good reads summary:

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?

review:

I’d like to preface this review with some information.

The Rose Society is the second book in the The Young Elites series (currently listed as a trilogy). I went into The Young Elites with my eyes open and my heart ready. What I wasn’t prepared for was how I would feel when I finished the novel. Despondent is the best description I can give you. But maybe that is how Marie Lu wanted me to feel. IDK. So venturing into The Rose Society took courage.

Below is my review. If you haven’t read The Young Elites do not pass go, do not collect $200. Go read The Young Elites first.

The Rose Society has great action scenes. The plot progresses quickly. There is character development… even if it is backwards (it felt backwards). You also read multiple POVs, but are mainly told the story through Adelina Amouteru.

We meet the tall-tale Magiano, whom I love as a character. He is creative, determined, and resourceful. I don’t feel like he is using Adelina as a means to end like The Daggers did. I believe he is one of two characters who don’t want or expect anything from her other than friendship (or maybe more?). Violetta is the other character. She is a character I have come to understand and appreciate. She is pure of heart and only wants what is best for Adelina.

Thanks to Marie Lu, I have come to hate The Daggers and what they represent.

My feelings about Adelina Amouteru are complicated. She is penumbra. She is surreptitious. She is abominable. She. Is. Villainous.

Overall I feel.. flabbergasted. Hoodwinked. Thorny. My heart was ripped from my chest. I felt limp when I finished the book. I wandered around my house, lost. I felt like Adelina felt at the end of book- waiting for something to hit me… but it never does.

I will pick up the 3rd Young Elites book when it’s published.

rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Special Review, YA Dystopian

ARC Review: Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1) by Aimee Carter

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Disclaimer: Thank you Harlequin TEEN and  NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this book for free does not sway my opinion.

Goodreads Summary:

YOU CAN BE A VII. IF YOU GIVE UP EVERYTHING. For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country. If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter. There’s only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that’s not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she’s only beginning to understand.

Review:

This book was almost the death of me. The main reason I was able to finish Pawn because I ended up listening to the audiobook instead of reading the galley I received. I bought the Audiobook (it was only 5.95 on amazon) and downloaded to my phone and it was the only thing I listened on my long commutes to and from work.

Let’s talk about KNOX. I don’t know exactly how I feel about him. Gosh he is such a tease, but also at times he would get soo broody and moody and under my skin. But if I had to choose between Benji and Knox, well of course I prefer Knox. And since I mentioned Benji let’s talk about him. First, I know that I was initially influenced by Kayla (The Thousand Lives) to not like him. I was waiting for him to mess up. The only thing he did wrong at the beginning was the whole “Omg you’re gonna be a prostitute and another man cannot possibly have sex with you before I do so let’s have sex right now”. I was over here shaking my head and going “UH NO. YOU JUST DID NOT GO THERE.” After that he isn’t really there much so he couldn’t really mess things up much more. It also bugged me that he wasn’t more jealous about the whole Knox is going to have to marry Kitty, and that all he will ever be is Knox’s assistant, while watching the two of them be together.

Cecilia did throw me off a little though. I was hoping she would be kinder to Kitty, being masked and all, but making her be her puppet instead as opposed to Daxton’s, she really isn’t much better even if the end justifies the means.

Kitty. Oh Kitty. What a mess did you get into. She isn’t my favorite protagonist. I would have LOVED to see something in Knox’s point of view because to me that boy is still a mystery, but ah Kitty could be really annoying at times. I get why she does what she does, but omg that still doesn’t make it any better.

A character that had me fooled was Grayson. He seemed so timid and little when Kitty interacted with him at the beginning, but towards the end I finally saw him how he really is. He is fully aware of what his family does and it is a shame what he has had to deal with it everyday. I can finally understand his obsession with all the inventions. It keeps him busy and doesn’t get involved in the family drama. Also I couldn’t believe that Daxton was masked. Where the heck is he and why did a 5 replace him? Dear Lord this just got more convoluted and intense. Honestly that was the moment in the story that got me hooked. Too bad it was 70% into it. After getting through 70% of the book, you get thrown so many twists and turns that it leaves you feeling… numb. So much happened at the end, I have no idea how to process it.

I can’t say this is one of my favorite dystopian series, but I will say that it manages to hook you and now I really want to read Captive.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

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Reviews, YA Sci Fi

Mini Reviews #2: Control by Lydia Kang and The Archived by Victoria Schwab

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Goodreads Summary:

When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn’t even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.

A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.

Review:

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O. M. G. Those three letters sum up this book in its entirety. I LOVED it. Absolutely, Freaking, Loved it. This book makes my science fiction inner nerd happy. All the science and the abnormal qualities most of the characters had made me love it even more. At times I felt like I was in the future X-men world. I don’t want to give anything away about this book (which is why I’m writing this tiny review on it), but I will tell you to read it. I devoured this book in a few hours and it has stayed with me. That reminds me, I should go see when the sequel is coming out…

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

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Goodreads Summary:

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what she once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

Review:

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I want to hug this book. Ugh. I can’t even. This book is haunting. It is exhilarating. It makes you see the world in a whole other way. Like it makes me like turn into the Southern California girl I have buried deep inside me and horrible grammar and words that add nothing to the sentence (ex: like) spew out of me. But my Dear Lord, I don’t even know what to really say about this book except, please read it. I can’t explain it. I won’t. Just read it. PLEASE.

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Rating: 5 out of freaking 5

Reviews, YA Dystopian

Book Review: The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass

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Goodreads Summary:

The hotly-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller The Selection.

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

What I Like:

I read this book in one sitting. ONE SITTING. I absolutely loved it. Prince Maxon was such a sweetheart, except for this one time where I was really mad at him. Hormones, Ugh. I really liked Maxon’s mother, the Queen. She brought stability and hope. I really think the Queen is a symbol of what the kingdom would be like if given the opportunity, or more better said, the right to have the ability to rise, to better themselves. Your caste number does not define you, it is the type of person you are that ultimately defines you. We can see this with Celeste. She may be of the second highest caste, but inside, she is a horrible human being. On the other hand, America, who does have her fair share of imperfections and moments of horrible judgement of character, is a better person overall and cares for others. She is always trying to help others, even at the cost of it affecting her in a negative way.

What I Dislike:

I was annoyed with America many times in the book. Like I said earlier, she can be a horrible judge of character. I also really disliked Aspen and the way he was trying to weasel into America’s heart by making Prince Maxon look bad at all costs. I do feel like the selection is dragging a little long. I hope we get to see more of the rebels in The One.

Overall:

In conclusion, the good of the book overpowers the bad. The “bad” parts of the book are not poor writing, or a boring plot, the “bad” parts of the book are the decisions the characters make and the consequences that they have to face for making said decisions. Kiera’s writing is so easy and effortless to read and very, very enjoyable that one only notices how long the book is until one is done. In my opinion, the books are not long enough.

Rating: 5/5