Genre: Science Fiction


Stars Above by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

July 11, 2017 Book Review, Young Adult 1 ★★★★★

Stars Above by Marissa Meyer | Book ReviewStars Above by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4.5
Also in this series: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Winter
Published by Feiwel and Friends on February 2, 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Retelling, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 369
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought from Amazon
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5 Stars
The enchantment continues....

The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?

With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.
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The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.
Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….
The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.
The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.
After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.
The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The Princess.
The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.
Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century...

I’ve never been a huge fan of the novellas that accompany full length novels. I rarely, rarely read them unless I love the world and the characters so much that I absolutely cannot let a story of theirs go unread. This was the case for Stars Above. I love The Lunar Chronicles so much that I wanted to know everything about everyone in them. The more info, the better! I knew about all the novellas as they were released, and I even got some of them on Kindle. I was never full motivated to read them, though, until I found out they were all being released together in a hardback bundle. It was then that I knew things were getting serious. I was also super heartbroken that the series was ending, so having another set of stories to anticipate helped me recover after finishing Winter, which I loved so much. Some of these stories really shine, whereas others were just ok for me.

My favorite story was Something Old, Something New, which is the epilogue to Winter. There’s a wedding of one of my favorite couples from the series, and oh the feels. I loved it. I also liked seeing Cinder and Kai’s first meeting in The Mechanic. And I love Thorne so much, so obviously I loved seeing a teenaged Thorne dream of his future in Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky. Oh, and I loved The Keeper! I loved learning about Cinder’s and Scarlet’s beginnings and Michelle’s part in all this. Several of the stories were quite sad, including Glitches and The Queen’s Army. They always say that heroes gain heroism by channeling their heartbreaking pasts, and that is clearly evident through these stories.

Really, I just loved the small snapshots into the pasts and side stories of the characters I’ve grown to love so much. This entire book, but mostly the epilogue, was a really special way to say goodbye to my favorite crew in the sky. I finished the series in January of last year, and read this book last summer, but I still can’t stop thinking about and missing these crazies and their shenanigans and intense love for one another. I think I need to re-read the entire series soon. I need to go back to the happy place that is the universe of the Lunar Chronicles.

How do you feel about companion novellas in series like this one?
If you’ve read these ones, which was your favorite?


Rebellion by J.A. Souders | Blog Tour Book Review (+ Giveaway)

July 15, 2016 Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 8 ★★★½

Rebellion by J.A. Souders | Blog Tour Book Review (+ Giveaway)Rebellion by J.A. Souders
Series: Elysium Chronicles #3
Also in this series: Renegade, Revelations
Published by Tor Teen on July 12, 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Source: From the Publisher
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3.5 Stars
The thrilling conclusion to J. A. Souders’s riveting SF psychological thriller series for teens

In this conclusion to J. A. Souders’s thrilling, twist-filled Elysium Chronicles series, Evie Winters and Gavin Hunter return to the isolated, dangerous underwater city that they fought so hard to escape.

Back in Elysium at last, Evie has finally found her true self hidden under layers and layers of false memories implanted by the woman she knew as Mother. Thanks to the intervention of her father, she knows the horrible truth about Mother and her insidious plans for her city. With the help of the love of her life, Gavin, and her best friend, Asher St. James, she’s determined to free her people from the cruel dictatorship of Mother’s laws. But how do you free people who don’t know they need rescuing?

Working with the growing Underground rebellion, Evie tries to remove Mother from her position by force—with disastrous results. As the body count rises, Evie must find a way to save Elysium before Mother destroys them all.

Welcome to my stop along the official blog tour for Rebellion by J.A. Souders! Rebellion (released on July 12, 2016) is the final book in the Elysium Chronicles, which is a trilogy I absolutely LOVE (see my reviews for the first two books here and here). This concluding story has been a long time coming, and I’m excited to share my thoughts with you today! I’m going to keep things as spoiler free as possible, which is why my review will be shorter than some, but please be aware of the fact that my review might end up spoiling parts of the first two books in the trilogy.

Many of my points in my reviews for Renegade and Revelations apply to Rebellion as well. The city of Elysium is amazing, and we get to experience more of it in this book. I was really happy to be back here, rather than in the Outlands (which was the dangerous stretch of land Gavin and Evie crossed in Revelations). I just love cities beneath the surface of the ocean. Souders does a wonderful job of describing the setting and the scenery.

Again, the story is written in dual perspectives from Evie and Gavin. I really enjoyed reading both their thoughts, and felt it enriched my reading experience. Our beloved characters have gone through some changes, and it was fun to see them grow. Evie, who started out as a naive, brainwashed, lightweight of a girl has transformed into a stubborn, kick-butt heroine who essentially holds the world of Elysium in her hands as she leads the rebellion against Mother. Gavin is the same old knight-in-shining armor I fell in love with in the first book, and will stop at nothing to make sure Evie is safe. Asher is still the sweet older brother figure, and Mother has reached new levels of insanity. We even meet some new people along the way.

The action is non-stop, heart-pumping, and ends in a way I’m not sure anyone will see coming. Rebellion is a strong conclusion to an even stronger series, and I will miss this world and the characters I’ve enjoyed so much. I definitely recommend this trilogy to anyone looking for a unique sci-fi reading experience. I’m excited to see where J.A. Souders takes us next.

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Tour Schedule

July 11 – Chapter by Chapter
July 12 – Seeing Double in Neverland
July 13 – Short n Sweet Reviews
July 14 – Gizmo’s Reviews
July 15 – That Artsy Reader Girl
July 16 – The Nocturnal Library


Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun | Blog Tour Mini Book Review (+ Giveaway)

April 26, 2016 Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 8 ★★★★

Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun | Blog Tour Mini Book Review (+ Giveaway)Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun
Published by Harlequin Teen on April 26, 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: From the Publisher
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4 Stars
As heir to a kingdom of floating continents, Kali has spent her life bound by limits—by her duties as a member of the royal family; by a forced betrothal to the son of a nobleman; and by the edge of the only world she’s ever known—a small island hovering above a monster-ridden earth, long since uninhabited by humans. She is the Eternal Flame of Hope for what’s left of mankind, the wick and the wax burning in service for her people, and for their revered Phoenix, whose magic keeps them aloft.

When Kali falls off the edge of her kingdom and miraculously survives, she is shocked to discover there are still humans on the earth. Determined to get home, Kali entrusts a rugged monster-hunter named Griffin to guide her across a world overrun by chimera, storm dragons, basilisks, and other terrifying beasts. But the more time she spends on earth, the more dark truths she begins to uncover about her home in the sky, and the more resolute she is to start burning for herself.

Welcome to my stop along the Heir to the Sky blog tour, hosted by Hannah at The Irish Banana Review! I’m so happy to review this book today because I really enjoyed it! I guess I had been needing a really good dystopia because I ate this one up! I’m really at a loss for words, and am having a hard time coming up with a coherent review. So much happens in the book and it is so well done. I love that it’s a standalone, as it is super refreshing to read a fully fleshed-out story for a change. Anyway, I’m going to keep my review short and sweet so as not to give too much away.

The premise of the story is really interesting, and I was immediately intrigued even though I was a little worried that the floating continents aspect would be too similar to Lauren DeStefano’s Perfect Ruin. The bulk of this story takes place on Earth, though, so everything ended up feeling unique and fresh. And really, the story picked up for me after Kali fell and was literally thrown from her extravagant life as a royal to surviving a cold, dirty, scary life. Her first night on Earth was really exciting for me, and I loved reading about her experiences with the crazy beasts and dragons. But Griffin. Oh, Griffin. I LOVE him. He definitely made this story for me. I loved the bond that he and Kali formed, and I loved how sweet he was to her as he protected her and tried to get her back home.

This story is surrounded by a lot of legend and secrecy, and I enjoyed watching the mystery unfold regarding how the islands really ended up in the sky, what Earth is really like, and who these people really are. Kali has been lied to her whole life, and falling to Earth gave her the awful truth very quickly. She no longer wants to get home for selfish reasons, she wants to get home to save the world. She learns a lot about herself in the process and what she is capable of. She also meets a lot of people, makes some friends, falls in love, and experiences some very dangerous and life-changing things. I enjoyed watching her grow and become more aware and fierce.

I loved Sun’s writing style and the details she provided. Earth is portrayed in vivid detail, with lots of colors and ferocious beasts. I felt like I was there. I loved the characters and all the little secrets to society and politics and ways of life that shaped the story. Heir to the Sky is a fast-paced, action-packed read that had me turning the pages as quickly as humanly possible. I’d definitely recommend it to people who are looking for an interesting dystopia/fantasy mash-up.


About Amanda Sun

I’m a YA author and proud Nerdfighter. I was born in Deep River, Canada, a very small town without traffic lights or buses, and where stranger safety is comprised of what to do if you see a bear—or skunk. I started reading fantasy novels at 4 and writing as soon as I could hold a pencil. Hopefully my work’s improved since then.

In university I took English, Linguistics, and Asian History, before settling into Archaeology, because I loved learning about the cultures and stories of ancient people. Of course, I didn’t actually become an archaeologist—I have an intense fear of spiders. I prefer unearthing fascinating stories in the safety of my living room.

The Paper Gods is inspired by my time living in Osaka and travelling throughout Japan. That and watching far too many J-Dramas. I currently live in Toronto with my husband and daughter. When I’m not writing, I’m devouring YA books, knitting nerdy things like Companion Cubes and Triforce mitts, and making elaborate cosplays for anime cons.

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Tour Schedule:


Winter by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

January 19, 2016 Book Review, Young Adult 6 ★★★★★

Winter by Marissa Meyer | Book ReviewWinter by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4
Also in this series: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, Stars Above
Published by Feiwel and Friends on November 10, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction, Steampunk
Pages: 832
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought from Amazon
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5 Stars
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?

Friends Jumping
I don’t know what to say!!! I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY! I LOVED this conclusion to The Lunar Chronicles. Marissa knew just what I wanted to know and she answered all my questions and tied up all the loose ends. Boy, does she know how to end a series.

Cress and Thorne are so unbelievably cute, I can’t even handle it. Thorne is still my very favorite character in this story. He can make me laugh, he can make me swoon, and he can make me crazy. Scarlet and poor, tortured Wolf go through everything you could possibly think of and I’m amazed at their strength and their ability to push through it all. Their love was written in the stars, and I think they might be my favorite couple ever (but don’t make me choose because I won’t!). Readers are not given as much time to fall in love with Winter and Jacin, but you do anyway. I keep thinking of Buttercup and Wesley and Corey and Topanga when I think of those two. Cinder and Kai are overshadowed by the epic love stories of our other characters, but it’s so good to see them happy. And Iko… Iko, Iko, Iko… she is still hilarious and sweet and tender and flirtatious. No android will ever be able to take her place in my heart. I miss everyone already. How am I going to live without my band of misfits in the sky?

Marissa Meyer has outdone herself, and I’m almost afraid of reading any of her future works because how can she outdo herself again? (Of COURSE I’m going to read everything she writes forever.) This book is LONG, but I needed every page. Every word. I was either swooning over this romance, or screaming at that revelation, or crying over that moment, or flipping out over WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?!, or cheering because YAY I LOVE THEM THEY RULE. The action is cataclysmic, the suspense unending, and the romance breathtaking. There’s so much of everything you could ever hope for and more. The tension never lets up, and you never feel totally safe until the very end. Can we all drive off into the sunset together?

Bottom line, thanks for reading my review because I have no coherent thoughts.

In summary: Read The Lunar Chronicles. 


Fairest by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

June 25, 2015 Book Review, Young Adult 6 ★★★½

Fairest by Marissa Meyer | Book ReviewFairest by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5
Also in this series: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Winter, Stars Above
Published by Feiwel and Friends on January 27, 2015
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Retelling, Science Fiction
Pages: 222
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought from Amazon
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3.5 Stars
In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

I’ve never really been a fan of the villain in any story because I don’t usually like the villain! Sure, there have been some exceptions to that rule, but I really wasn’t sure I wanted to learn about Levana and her excuses for being such an awful person. But I love Marissa Meyer and The Lunar Chronicles, so of COURSE I wanted to read Fairest. While I did not love it as much as the full-length novels in this series, I enjoyed Levana’s back story, I feel prepared to read Winter, and I also learned quite a few things about Cinder that surprised me. Bottom line, this book was certainly worth reading! So if you’re on the fence as to whether or not you should, definitely do it. You’ll learn things and more pieces will start to fit into the puzzle.

Levana is EVIL. I mean wow. Pure evil. At times I felt bad for her, but she is seriously a psychopath. I felt bad for her. She went through a lot in her youth, and all of these things helped shaped her to be a ruthless, evil witch she is. She had a horrible upbringing. We hear the heartbreaking story of why she must hide behind an artificial glamour, we hear her experience with being rejected by the man she loved, and her inner feelings and compulsions are brought to light. It’s a very interesting character analysis, and it adds a lot to the story, giving it more of a solid foundation. I do like knowing the why’s and how’s of any situation, and this book gives you that. I’ll never feel like Levana is justified in her actions, but at least I know why she is so crazy.

As always, Marissa Meyer’s writing is flawless and I loved being immersed in this world once again. I’m even more excited for Winter now!


The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey | Book Review

February 9, 2015 Book Review, Young Adult 5 ★★★★★

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey | Book ReviewThe 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Series: The 5th Wave #1
Published by GP Putnam's Sons on May 7, 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Survival
Pages: 457
Format: eBook
Source: Bought from Amazon
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5 Stars
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

**This is one of the books I chose to read for my YA literature class**

I’ve been very excited to read The 5th Wave, and am so glad I finally had the chance! It’s a very exciting books that I loved so much more than I thought I would. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Rick Yancey has created a very convincing post-apocalyptic setting, taking place right here in the United States. He really took his time giving us all the details about what the world is like now, what the aliens have done so far (in the first four waves of human extermination, essentially), and what life is like for the few remaining humans on Earth.

2. Everything seemed so frighteningly real to me, that I was completely engrossed. Yancey has convinced me that this can really happen!

3. The writing style portrays so many different emotions: Cassie’s heartbreak when her brother is taken, her skepticism as to whether or not to trust Evan, her fear at being alone, her sorrow over losing her family, and her determination to survive.

4. In that same vein, Rick Yancey did such a good job at getting into the head of a teenage girl. I kept forgetting a man wrote this book! Cassie’s voice is quintessentially female. I particularly loved the part of the book where Cassie woke up in a strange guy’s house, all cleaned up and wearing new clothes. Her inner thoughts are hilarious when she realizes a boy saw her naked. She reacts exactly the way any girl would, and I loved her for it.

5. I loved all the characters. Cassie is a wonderful heroine, who has the courage of Katniss Everdeen. She’s also got a pretty great sense of humor. And she’s a girl after my own heart because she is dragging books around in her backpack as she fights off aliens! Evan is mysterious and kind and caring. He’s a very dynamic character, and he’s constantly being torn in two directions. I love Cassie’s little brother and the people he encounters on his new mission in life. I felt very connected to everyone, which makes sense because they are fighting for their lives. True humanity comes through in these situations, and the characters were so real and relatable because they’ve got nothing left to be but themselves.

6.This book is non-stop action and excitement! Then there’s a little romance and some violence and some survival scenarios… It’s pretty gripping, and I had a very hard time putting it down.

My Favorite Quotes:

– “But if I’m it, the last of my kind, the last page of human history, like hell I’m going to let the story end this way. I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity’s last war, then I am the battlefield.

– “How do you rid the Earth of humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

All in all, this is one LONG book but I didn’t even care. I didn’t want it to end! I was so amazed by the situation and captivated by the characters’ stories that I could not put it down to go to sleep! The 5th Wave has everything a reader could want and even some things you might not realize you wanted in the first place.


A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray | Book Review + Giveaway

January 5, 2015 Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 38 ★★★★★

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray | Book Review + GiveawayA Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Series: Firebird #1
Published by HarperTEEN on November 4, 2014
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Time Travel
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Source: From the Publisher
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5 Stars
Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

This book sounded amazing before the cover image released, but once the cover was revealed I was even more excited about it! For once, the book lived up to its beautiful cover. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. As much as I loved this book, I had a very hard time getting started. The pacing across the first 100 pages or so is very slow and cumbersome. I actually set this book down back in November because I just could not hang in there, and I was so sad it would end up being a DNF. I’m so glad I gave it another chance, though, because it ended up becoming a new favorite!

2. I’m not usually a fan of parallel universes or alternate dimensions because books that contain them are usually repetitive and the differences between those worlds are never exciting or unique enough to hold my attention. In this case, however, I could not wait to see where Marguerite and Theo traveled to next.

3. My favorite parallel universe was Russia, and is where the bulk of this book takes place. Even though the characters never change time periods, this particular universe feels like it’s a couple hundred years behind ours. Marguerite is the daughter of the tsar, and lives in a candlelit castle. Lieutenant Markov (a.k.a. Paul Markov, suspected murderer of Marguerite’s father) is Marguerite’s personal body guard, and oh wow is he swoony! I loved getting to see so many sides of Paul, but this one was my favorite.

4. I really liked Marguerite. I liked that she was willing to take the less popular road and give Paul a chance to prove that he did not kill her father. I liked her tenacity and her crusade for truth. And I loved her relationship with her dad. So sweet.

5. I’m not going to try and explain the ins and outs of how they travel between dimensions and everything because that’s for you to discover as you read, but I found the “science” fascinating.

6. The focus in this story is primarily on romance, but there’s also this quest to find out if Paul killed Marguerite’s dad or not, a battle against an evil corporation looking to use the Firebird for evil, and the fight to stay alive and return home. There’s a lot going on, and there’s so many twists and turns and revelations. What you think is going on is not what’s going on.

7. The romance is super unique. You’ve got Theo and Paul. They make up the love triangle. But then there’s Lieutenant Markov, who is Paul but not really Paul. He’s Paul from Russia. And Marguerite loves Lieutenant Markov, but maybe not Paul. So basically it’s a love square with Theo and Paul from two different dimensions. By loving Paul is she cheating on Lieutenant Markov? So yeah. Complicated.

8. I could have done with fewer flashbacks to what happened before Paul supposedly betrayed Marguerite’s family. Those were kind of boring and took me out of the suspense of what was going on then.

9. There were some pretty romantic quotes. I just loved the romance!

All in all, I really enjoyed A Thousand Pieces of You and can’t wait for the next book in the series!

Somehow I ended up with an extra hardback from the publisher, so I’m giving it away to someone who thinks they might love it as much as I did! I’m feeling generous so I’m willing to ship internationally, and I’m currently publicizing the Debut Author Challenge so you get extra entries if you sign up!

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Atlantia by Ally Condie | Book Review

November 6, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 3 ★★★★

Atlantia by Ally Condie | Book ReviewAtlantia by Ally Condie
Published by Dutton Juvenile on October 28, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: From the publisher at ALA
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4 Stars
Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.

I’ve been looking forward to a new novel from Ally Condie for quite some time, so I dove in to Atlantia as soon as I could! It took me a little while to fully immerse myself in the story, but I ended up really liking Atlantia. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I’ve always been a huge fan of books that take place underwater. Atlantia is a beautiful, self-sustaining, world under the sea that actually sounds a lot like Venice, believe it or not. They have canals and gondolas, and the city is colorful with lots of shops and places to visit. There’s a market in the depths of the city, plus an arena for after-curfew swimming competitions (I found the swimming arena rather random and out of place, though.). Basically, the city is unique and very fun to read about.

2. Rio is secretly a siren, who has had to hide her true voice from everyone in order to keep herself safe. Siren voices are very powerful, and can be used as weapons. Sirens are more rare now, which puts Rio in even more danger. When I heard siren, I immediately thought of mermaids. Sirens are human beings with special powers, though. I liked this unique twist!

3. Rio has always wanted to live Above, but when their mother dies she promises her sister, Bay, that she will choose to stay Below during the choosing ceremony (which is very similar to Divergent’s faction choosing ceremony). On the day of choosing, though, Bay announces she is going to the Above. Since only one child from each family can go Above, Rio is stuck and hurt. Alone forever. Rio starts planning her escape, and will stop at nothing to journey to the Above. This is where you see Rio’s stubborn, persistent, dare-devil personality. I really liked her!

4. Obviously, everyone is hiding something. There’s a lot of lying, and it’s hard to know who to trust. Rio’s aunt kind of takes her under her wing and mentors her, but this aunt is shady. Everyone is. And there’s a lot of secrets about Rio, her family, and the politics behind the separation of the Above and the Below. How did these people end up Below? Why is there no traveling between worlds? What’s the point of a city below water?

5. I loved the worldbuilding and Ally’s writing is descriptive and lovely.

6. I was so hoping for more romance between Rio and True.

7. Throughout the entire book I was expecting a sequel, so to find out it’s a standalone was kind of exciting. In a YA world full of trilogies and series, it’s nice to find a standalone. At the same time, though, Atlantia was wrapped up so quickly that I wish we were getting a sequel. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side.

Overall, I really enjoyed Atlantia. I love underwater settings, and Ally’s writing and really enjoyable to read. I’m excited to see what she chooses to do next! I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a good dystopia. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like dystopias are becoming pretty formulaic and predictable. Atlantia is very unique, though, and breathes new life into dystopia.


Monarch by Belle Whittington | Mini Book Review + Giveaway

October 20, 2014 Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult 1 ★★★★

Monarch by Belle Whittington | Mini Book Review + GiveawayMonarch by Belle Whittington
Series: Cicada #3
Also in this series: Cicada, Firefly
Published by Self on October 1, 2014
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 493
Format: eBook
Source: From the author
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
Blair Reynolds was born to rule. Worlds, that is. Destined to reign over an ancient intergalactic race, it may seem her fate is written in the stars. But she’s willing to risk it all for another chance to spend forever with her true love – even if it means traveling through time and space to the other side of the universe.

As far as Ash is concerned, Blair's happily-ever-after involves him, not the mere mortal with whom she seems so infatuated. She was bequeathed to him by her father, and Ash will go to any lengths to keep Blair and her true love apart.

And Ash isn’t the only one.

Deep in the jungles of Brazil, where tribal drums call to Blair and her true love, other forces carry out dangerous secret plans.

However, Blair has secrets of her own … secrets so lethal she dares not even remember them.

Secrets so painful they could ruin everything.

Because some secrets kill.

I really loved Cicada (my review) and Firefly (my review) and was on the blog tours for both of those books, so I was very excited to be given the opportunity to be on the last blog tour for this last book in the trilogy. I’m feeling nostalgic! Monarch is a bit of a hard book to review, just because I feel like the things I loved about this book are the same things I loved about the first two. Plus, I don’t want to give anything away!

Monarch is probably the most exciting book in the trilogy, as things are getting real and intense. Decisions and sacrifices have to be made. Blair is discovering herself more and more (and getting more comfortable with who she is), and learning about how all the various, seemingly unrelated puzzle pieces in her life fit together into one big revelation of a puzzle. I love how Belle pieced all these details together. I had a lot of “ah ha!” moments. I also had a lot of “YES! I KNEW it!” moments. It was exciting to finally be in the know, as the first two books were mysterious and left me with a lot of questions.

In Monarch Blair, Andrew, and Everett leave their home, possibly forever, and travel to Brazil. The tribal drums are calling her, and it’s time for Blair to return to her alien people as their queen. She ditches Andrew and Everett at a bus station, fearing their safety, and takes to the jungles alone. Did she really think they would not search for her, though? Blair soon learns she is being hunted. She is forced to awaken her Royal Guard from a centuries-long slumber, and the fight between sides and loyalties begins. Blair must choose between her true love from her human life, her true love from her alien life, and the man who was promised her hand in marriage by her father. She also has to figure out how to survive it all.

I was so happy to see Andrew again. I love her big brother, and his loyalty to her. I was happy to see swoony Everett again. He’s not as nerdy as he once was! We don’t see as much of them as we do Blair, though. We spend a lot of time with her hiding out in the jungle and remembering things from her former life. She makes a lot of discoveries about herself and who she used to be. She learns more about who Ash really is. This is a very enlightening experience for Blair and the reader, but I found things to move a bit slowly at times. Because she was alone we did not get much dialog for a while, and I missed that interaction. Things did pick up, though, and then it was non-stop action and suspense. I loved watching everything unfold. I LOVE Blair’s Royal Guard. Each member has this incredible loyalty and amazing personality. Xi is my favorite, and I saw his as almost a father figure for Blair.

I’ve always loved Belle’s writing, and I still do. She paints such immaculate pictures with her words, and made the jungle come alive in my mind’s eye. She wrote such detailed descriptions of the Royal Guard and what they look like and their apparel. She brought everyone’s emotions to life and I felt their loyalty and love for one another. I felt the aching love between Blair and Everett as well. Theirs is a very special and unique love story. I have become so invested in all of these characters, even the ones I just met in this book. That’s the sign of a truly wonderful author. I loved how the story wrapped up, and am sad to see it end at the same time. I hope Belle continues to write more!

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Carrier by Vanessa Garden | Book Review

May 26, 2014 Book Review, Young Adult 4 ★★

Carrier by Vanessa Garden | Book ReviewCarrier by Vanessa Garden
Published by Harlequin Enterprises, Australia Pty Limited on March 1, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 175
Format: eARC
Source: From the publisher through Netgalley
Amazon Add to Goodreads
2 Stars
From the day she was born, Lena has viewed the world through the jagged window of a razor-wired fence. The hundred-acre property she shares with her mother in the Australian outback may keep her safe from the Y-Carrier disease, but it is no longer enough to hold Lena’s interest, and her mother’s increasingly tight grip on her free will is stifling.

Just as her curiosity blooms and her courage rises, she meets a boy through the fence — the first boy she has ever laid eyes on. His name is Patrick and he comes with a dangerous yet irresistible invitation of adventure beyond the fence, an invitation to which Lena cannot say no.

But Lena’s newfound freedom is short-lived and she soon discovers that the Y-Carrier disease is not the only enemy she faces on the outside. Her new enemies want something Lena has, and they are willing to do anything to get it...

After LOVING Vanessa Garden’s debut novel, Captivate, I was beyond thrilled to hear of her next novel. Carrier, a post-apocalyptic dystopian set in the Australian outback, and is completely different from Captivate. While it was an enjoyable read, I did not feel the same magic I did when I read Captivate. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I LOVED reading a book set in the Australian Outback. And I loved all the Aussie words like “dingo”. It was just fun to read a book from an Australian author, as I got a tiny glimpse of a place I would LOVE to visit (although the Outback is not my number one go-to Australian locale. Hehe.). I suppose there’s only so many ways to describe a vast and desert-like place, but I would have loved more scenic details that specifically pointed to the Outback. This story could have taken place anywhere.

2. The worldbuilding was minimal. I would have enjoyed more information about the disease. Where did it come from? How long has it been there? How was it discovered? How did everyone end up scattered all over the place? How much of the human race is left? I just felt let in on the story way too late. If things had started earlier, or we were provided a flashback or prologue explaining the events that led up to this story, I would have been much happier. I’m very detail-oriented, and I was a bit disappointed.

3. I was not the biggest fan of the sci-fi twist, which did end up answering some of my questions, but in an unsatisfying way. The last 10-15% of the book was like a detail dumping, but it was a little too late and a little anti-climactic.

4. A lot of time was spent on a very luke-warm insta-relationship. Patrick is the first boy Lena has ever seen in her life, so naturally they would fall in love almost instantly and start risking their lives for one another, right? I did not believe their love. They barely talked about anything important, and I really think they were more awe-struck at seeing a human of the opposite gender than they were in love with each other. There was just no development.

5. Lena’s mom is very abusive, both verbally and physically. And Lena decides she wants to run away. But not permanently. Just a day or two. And then when times get harder, everything is all of a sudden sunshine and roses. There is no discussion of how horrible Lena’s mother has been, and no reconciliation or amends made. I have a hard time believing that no feelings needed to be shared in order to establish a healthy mother-daughter relationship.

6. I did not connect with any of the characters because I never got to know them well enough. They were all flat and uninteresting to me.

7. The book just felt unorganized. It’s like towards the end the author realized there were some unanswered questions, so she just started throwing out answers. Some of them did not make sense, some did not seem believable, and some were unsatisfying. I think this could be faulted by the book’s length. This is a huge story, shoved into a very tiny package. It was not given enough room to grow, and that hurt it.

8. The ending was super unsatisfying. There’s no indication of any kind of sequel, but after ALL THAT we’re left with a ton of questions. Truth be told, I did not even know what to think when it was over. It just ended abruptly. It was kind of like someone slammed on the breaks and told you to get out of the car before reaching your final destination. I was just confused and let down.

All in all, the premise and the setting were the two strong points. The execution was disappointing, and I don’t even feel like this book is from the same author as the one who wrote Captivate. There was no magic, and I guess that’s what I was looking for. I’m still a fan of Vanessa Garden, though, and cannot wait for the next book in the Submerged Sun series!