Genre: Science Fiction

Monarch by Belle Whittington | Mini Book Review + Giveaway

Posted October 20, 2014 by Jana in Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Young Adult Fiction / 1 Comment

Monarch by Belle Whittington | Mini Book Review + GiveawayMonarch by Belle Whittington
Series: Cicada #3
Published by Self on October 1, 2014
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 493
Format: eBook
Source: Author
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
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!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the rest of the blog tour!

4 Stars

Carrier by Vanessa Garden | Book Review

Posted May 26, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 4 Comments

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: Publisher (Netgalley)
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
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!

2 Stars

Nil by Lynne Matson | Book Review

Posted May 15, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 13 Comments

Nil by Lynne Matson | Book ReviewNil by Lynne Matson
Published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers on March 4, 2014
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Survival
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
2 Stars

On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days--to escape, or you die.

Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.

Any book that is marketed as “Survivor meets Lost” has some pretty gargantuan shoes to fill. And honestly, I think this might have hurt Nil, because I went into the book with really huge expectations. I am a Survivor fangirl, and got addicted to Lost very quickly. So I was expecting to fall head over heels into crazy love with Nil. And I didn’t. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The premise sounds AMAZING, right? People are randomly showing up on this unknown island and have a year to get off or they die. I mean, what a unique and creative idea! That’s why I was so drawn to the book in the first place, I just feel like I wanted more from it. More details. More surviving. Less of what we got.

2. I really, REALLY did not like the romance aspect of the story. It completely overshadowed the craziness of the Island. The great thing about Lost was that the island was a character. It was the main character. Everything that happened was because of the island. Nil needed that same treatment. I did not care about the lovebirds, I did not believe in their love story of convenience, and I got really annoyed by the fact that Thad kept not wanting to get off the island because he did not want to leave Charley. Are ya kidding me? He wants to risk his life and, ultimately, die to spend a few extra days with a girl he has known for less than a month? Less than a few weeks? I don’t like dumb characters. It would have made so much more sense for him to do everything he could to get off the island and then hope the same for Charley. Because then they might have a chance. And I got so tired of hearing how hot he was and how long and lean her legs were. And her hair. And blah, blah, blah.

3. I feel like a lot of time was spent reading about the characters as they ran as fast as they could to try and catch an exit portal to escape. There is only so much an author can do with running scenes.

4. I did like the society on Nil. The teens who live there all pull their own weight, have different talents that make life easier or more comfortable, and all look out for one another. I liked that they set up searching groups for exit portals and did everything they could to try and help people get out. I like that they keep track of who makes it off the island and who doesn’t. They really care about one another, and I felt like these friendships made me care much more about the people involved.

5. I’m not sure whether or not I liked the dual point of view from Thad and Charley. I don’t like dual POVs unless they are done really well and add something to the story, rather than rehashing things we already read about. Sometimes the dual point of view was enlightening, but other times I found it to be predictable and re-hashy.

6. There were so many characters that nobody really got enough time spent on them for you to care about them individually. I liked a couple people here and there, but I could not even remember their names. For this reason, I wish more focus had been placed on surviving instead of the people and the romance.

7. I loved the mystery and intrigue of the inner workings of the island. I love puzzles and figuring things out. I wish more time had been spent on this.

8. Everything ended SO FAST. You’re kind of left hanging, yet there’s no sequel.

Basically, Nil had large shoes to fill before it even hit the shelves and I feel like it suffered as a result. I wanted a crazy, twisted survival story and got a lukewarm instalove instead. The story had SO much potential, too. Yes, there were some good moments, but I was disappointed overall.

This book is a 2014 debut

2 Stars

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle | Book Thoughts

Posted March 27, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Middle Grade, That Artsy Librarian / 2 Comments

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle | Book ThoughtsA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Series: The Time Quintet #1
Published by Square Fish on January 1, 1962
Genres: Science Fiction, Time Travel
Pages: 256
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
3 Stars

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract".

Meg's father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

A Wrinkle in Time and I, sadly, did not click. I found it to be rather boring and, at times, confusing. I read it for my children’s literature class, and am so glad I did because it gives me more credibility in the field of youth services librarianship. I’m sad I didn’t love it, though, because it’s a classic that has been well-loved for a very long time! I’ve decided to not write a formal review and instead, have chosen to post some of my thoughts that I was required to write for my class. Please feel free to chime in with your thoughts on the book!

This book focuses a lot on the battle between good and evil, which I have always enjoyed. These children are really put to the test as they participate in this battle. Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Who all represent a kind of messenger from something good, whether it be a Heavenly place or somewhere else. I think it’s up to the reader to decide what “good” comes from, which can facilitate a lot of interesting discussions.

Battles between good and evil usually bring with them Christian or other religious undertones. I can pick out a lot of Christian themes especially, including the mention of Jesus. Light and dark, Heavenly messengers, resisting temptation, and the mention of books in the Bible also show up in the story. The books of Isaiah and John are quoted. This book has been challenged before, and I can see that these themes might be the reason. At the same time, though, I’m not sure all children would pick up on them.

Children will be able to relate to homely little Meg and misunderstood Charles Wallace. I think they will also enjoy the love within this family, which is another huge theme in the story. Love conquers all. I can see that their imaginations will be stimulated, however, I don’t think I would have been a science fiction lover if I had started out with this book. I enjoyed The Giver and The Time Machine much more.

3 Stars

Plus One by Elizabeth Fama | Book Review

Posted March 24, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 6 Comments

Plus One by Elizabeth Fama | Book ReviewPlus One by Elizabeth Fama
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux on April 8, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 373
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
1 Stars

Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.

Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.

Can we just take a second and look at that cover!? HELLO, Lovely! I was super excited to read Plus One as soon as I read the synopsis, and was even MORE excited when I saw the cover! I tend to really love dystopias, and I also love romantic thrillers, which the book’s synopsis claims that this is. I suppose I was thinking of super super thrillery romantic thrillers like Victoria Holt or Daphne Du Maurier, because I was not thrilled with Plus One. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I’m saying this immediately, because it was probably the biggest issue I had with Plus One. It’s not a romantic thriller. It’s not suspenseful, and I didn’t feel like it was terribly romantic either. I mean, I guess there are some more tense moments when you’re wondering how these characters are going to get themselves out of the pickle they’ve gotten themselves into… but I never found myself holding my breath or gripping the edge of my seat. I think I probably just set my expectations too high.

2. Going along with the lack of thrill, I really did not feel the romance either. We’ve got two characters here, a day dweller/Ray named D’Arcy and a a night dweller/Smudge named Sol. Sol’s brother was promoted to a Ray because of his amazing technological skills. He got married, had a baby, and Sol wants nothing more than to let her grandfather, still a Smudge, see his great-grandchild. So she formulates a dangerous plan to kidnap her niece from the hospital and bring him to her grandfather. But she kidnaps the wrong child. D’Arcy, is a medical intern in the hospital who figured out what’s going on, but feels compelled to save/help Sol instead of turn her in to the authorities.

This is where I struggled. WHY would D’Arcy risk his career and his life to help a girl he does not know AT ALL to kidnap a child from his post in the hospital? I mean, any medical professional in their right mind, you would think, is against endangering their patients and allowing them to be harmed. ESPECIALLY if that professional does not even KNOW the person who is breaking the rules/law.

3. In addition to this romance confusion, what aunt will deliberately put her niece in danger to bring her to her blind grandfather? I mean, this baby is brand new! And she is running around on a hot day carrying this baby in her sweatshirt, dodging bullets. She could feel the baby’s sweat on her skin. When she got it home, she put it in a kitchen drawer and then ignored its cries of hunger, pain, discomfort, and what have you. This is horrible! If she loved this niece so much, why would she put it in such grave danger? And I can’t think of a grandfather anywhere who would condone such acts. Did she not care at all about the baby’s parents or the baby itself? This book is centered around a plot that is dependent on the fact that Sol is incredibly dumb and selfish.

4. I wasn’t really a fan of any of the characters, just because they were making such dumb and pointless decisions. And since the romance wasn’t there, I just did not care.

In addition to Sol and D’Arcy, we are introduced to this rogue group of day and night dwellers (basically they’re out whenever they want to be), with extreme clothing and make-up. One of them is being sexually abused, which really bothered me. I really dislike reading about stuff like that. I never connected with any of these people, and the link they shared with Sol and her family bugged me. I’m not sure why. Things just got really political.

5. The world is never really explained. We’ve got a caste system and all these social rules, but I never knew the why’s and the how’s of it all! These details could have enriched the story so much more.

All in all, I pretty much know I am in the minority here. I’ve seen many raving reviews for this book, and I really don’t understand why. I did not believe the romance, and I was so confused by the plot itself. Because of these reasons, I had a hard time caring and even finishing the book, which is quite disappointing.

1 Stars

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi | Book Review

Posted March 20, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 11 Comments

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi | Book ReviewShatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Series: Shatter Me #1
Published by HarperTEEN on November 15, 2011
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

I’m part of a really exciting book club with Karin and Kat, called The Transatlantic Bookshelf, and Shatter Me was our first read! I’ve had my eye on it for a long time, so it was nice to finally have an excuse to read it. Sadly, Karin did not finish it. She’s considering trying it again later, but did just not love it this first time around. Kat and I both enjoyed it, though. I figured I’d put my thoughts together here! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I don’t really see the hype. I mean, I liked the book. I really did. But I guess when you hear every good thing possible about a series, almost anything would be disappointing. I guess the best way to put it is that I don’t see why Shatter Me stands above any other book out there. My mind was not blown like I had hoped.

2. Mafi’s writing style really irked me at first. There is a lot of repetition of words and thoughts, plus a lot of thoughts are crossed out (actually, strikeout would be the best term), with new thoughts added behind. It took me quite some time to get used to, but I did end up getting myself to a point where I could skim over them. I have to hand it to Mafi, though, she has a very unique writing style. It’s unique enough, though, that you might take a while to appreciate it like I did.

3. I love the idea of this story. I love that Juliette’s touch is fatal, but sexy Adam is immune. So to see how she is being able to finally touch someone… it was powerful. Not being able to hold a person’s hand, or to hug them? That’s hard. Humans need human contact. So when Juliette discovers she can have that, it was like she all of a sudden discovered how to see.

4. The romance was kind of a slow burn, but also kind of insta-lovey. And I’m not sure if I will be able to decide exactly which one it is. On the one hand, Juliette and Adam meet in a rather deceptive way. She thinks he is someone totally different than he ends up being. For a while she really hates him. But then she starts to recognize him for some reason, and becomes intrigued by his complete caring for her. On the other hand, once she realizes she can touch him, there was kind of a romantic explosion if you will. And I felt like feelings happened really fast. But then you learn things and discover maybe it’s not so insta-lovey. *shrug*

5. In any case, the romance was pretty swoony. Mafi knows how to write sultry scenes.

6. I hate Warner. He’s the guy trying to make Juliette a weapon for The Reestablishment, and he is slimy and creepy. Kind of serial killery. And I’m scared abotu what role he might have in future books.

7. I LOVE ADAM. Can I have him? He is just so sweet and loyal and courageous. And I will be reading the next book for Adam alone.

8. Too much metaphor? I think so. What do you think?

All in all, I enjoyed Shatter Me but do not really understand the hype. The writing style takes a while to get used to, but once I did I appreciated the glimpses it gave us into Juliette’s true thoughts. The idea of the story has me super intrigued, and I will be reading the next book because I have a crush on Adam and can’t wait for more of him.

4 Stars

Infinite by Jodi Meadows | Book Review

Posted February 12, 2014 by Jana in Book Review / 8 Comments

Infinite by Jodi Meadows | Book ReviewInfinite by Jodi Meadows
Series: Newsoul #3
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on January 28, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 418
Format: ARC
Source: Gift
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
5 Stars

DESTRUCTION
The Year of Souls begins with an earthquake—an alarming rumble from deep within the earth—and it’s only the first of greater dangers to come. The Range caldera is preparing to erupt. Ana knows that as Soul Night approaches, everything near Heart will be at risk.

FLIGHT
Ana’s exile is frightening, but it may also be fortuitous, especially if she can convince her friends to flee Heart and Range with her. They’ll go north, seeking answers and allies to stop Janan’s ascension. And with any luck, the newsouls will be safe from harm’s reach.

CHOICE
The oldsouls might have forgotten the choice they made to give themselves limitless lifetimes, but Ana knows the true cost of reincarnation. What she doesn’t know is whether she’ll have the chance to finish this one sweet life with Sam, especially if she returns to Heart to stop Janan once and for all.

I love the Newsoul trilogy, and I have been pushing it on everyone I know. If you’re new or newish to this series, I would recommend reading my reviews of Incarnate or Asunder before reading this one! And then go read all the books!

Ok, so OH MY. You guys! I don’t even know how to review this book! It was just so perfect. I was so unbelievably happy to be reunited with Ana, Sam, and the rest of the gang. I missed them all so much. I was elated to get more of Jodi’s beautiful writing. I was so scared to finish, because I just don’t want to say goodbye to all of this! But Jodi did it right. SO right. If it had to end, this is how I wanted it to happen. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I will always love the strong theme of music that is woven throughout this entire trilogy. Music is everywhere, and in everything. Music saves lives, creates romance, and conveys the strongest of feelings. The musical theme, combined with Jodi’s lyrical writing, created the most amazingly perfect symphonic masterpiece. I have always been one to connect strongly and easily with music, so this story really made its way into my heart and soul.

2. I love what humans do when they fight for their lives, and I love the spirit of determination and self-preservation that these characters have. Enemies turn to allies. When push comes to shove, Ana and Sam along with other Newsoul allies head out on a journey to find help in preventing Janan’s ascension. I really loved seeing so much of the world outside of Heart and Range.

3. I really enjoyed getting to know more about the creatures that live outside of Heart. The first two books introduced us to the sylph, dragons, centaurs, and trolls, but we get to learn much more about them in Infinite. The sylph are glorious, and I loved reading about them and their gracefulness. The dragons are intriguing and have interesting personalities. Connections happen between Ana and these creatures, and I loved seeing this happen.

4. Jodi knows how to write her descriptions. I loved reading about this winter wonderland that Ana and Sam trekked through. I loved her descriptions of the true and complete love that Ana and Sam have for each other. The sexual tension had me swooning. The creatures I mentioned before are absolutely majestic and unique. I just drank in every detail I could, in the hopes of making it last forever.

5. There were so many emotions and feelings. I was tied up in knots, my heart broke, I smiled, I swooned, and I sighed. I was so concerned for my characters. I was sad for them when they had their hearts broken. I was scared when they found themselves in dangerous situations. I held my breath when they were on the cusp of losing everything. These people are my friends now. They have a place in my heart, and I felt everything they did.

6. The ending stole my breath, shattered my heart, and somehow ended up leaving me feeling warm and fuzzy as I said goodbye. I feel like I really went through the ringer. Finishing a series is really scary. We have all invested so much time and so many emotions in these characters, and we have all been disappointed before. Authors are really good at breaking hearts, but they can also shoot of fireworks of happiness. That’s what Jodi did for me. She left me so happy, with so many wonderful memories. She also left a little room for us to fill in our own details at the end, which I love. We might be leaving Heart, Ana, Sam, and everyone but they have been given a bright future that will leave you very satisfied.

Wow. I did not do the book justice at all. Know this, my friends. The Newsoul trilogy is a set of books you have GOT to read. Jodi Meadows is my rock star, and I will absolutely read anything she writes. I’m sad to see these books end, but am so excited for what’s in store for us next!

5 Stars

The Prince by Kiera Cass | Mini Book Review

Posted February 3, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 2 Comments

The Prince by Kiera Cass | Mini Book ReviewThe Prince by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #.5
Published by HarperTEEN on March 5, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 64
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
2 Stars

Before thirty-five girls were chosen to compete in the Selection...

Before Aspen broke America's heart...

There was another girl in Prince Maxon's life...

Don't miss this thrilling 64-page original novella set in the world of the New York Times bestselling novel The Selection.

I was really excited to read The Prince, because I was intrigued by his life before the Selection. I wanted to get to know Maxon on a more intimate level so that I could better understand his decisions and is desires in a wife. While I did enjoy reading about his life before, I was a bit disappointed in the little information I received.

I would not label this as a prequel to the story, even though it is listed as being .5 in the series. A very small part of this takes place before the Selection, and even then it’s only a few days before the girls are selected. This “other girl” the synopsis mentions was not even worth mentioning, and I felt like I was a bit deceived. I was expecting some sweeping romance that Maxon was forbidden to pursue, or some unrequited love that caused him to choose the Selection over finding love conventionally. That’s not the case at all.

I enjoyed delving into Prince Maxon’s thoughts, but I also felt like I was wasting my time because of the subject matter of the book. I felt like Maxon was an open book in The Selection. I pretty much knew how he was feeling. Most of this book tells the exact same story as The Selection. It’s just from Maxon’s point of view. But like I said before, I was not wondering what he was thinking during The Selection. Instead of getting a new story, I got to read all about which girls were selected again. I got to read his first conversation with America again, just with his inner dialogue. I got tired of reading the same thing. Some of the sentences seemed to be taken straight from The Selection. I started wondering what the point of this novella was.

I’m sure my feelings come from the fact that I read The Prince the day after I read The Selection. Everything was very fresh in my mind, and I did not need to be re-reading things. I feel like this book is not really worth it if you’ve read The Selection, unless it has been a while and you would like a refresher before jumping into The Elite. If you’re wanting an easy way to decide if you DO want to read The Selection, this would be a good way to do that. I’m disappointed that I did not learn any more about Maxon than I knew before, however, I do think it was nice of Kiera to write this in a way that does not make this novella a mandatory read.

2 Stars

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan | Book Review

Posted January 27, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 5 Comments

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan | Book ReviewUninvited by Sophie Jordan
Series: Uninvited #1
Published by HarperTEEN on January 28, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan's chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she's destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

I loved Sophie Jordan’s Firelight trilogy, so I was very excited to learn of her new project! The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report? Count me in! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I found this story to be terrifyingly plausible. Uninvited is set in the not so distant future where people are tested to see if they have a specific gene that, in the government’s eyes, guarantees that that person will someday kill a someone. Once that person has been diagnosed with this gene, their life is essentially over. They are immediately treated as though they have already murdered someone. It’s so scary to think that science could someday overrule a person’s moral framework. Isn’t that so scary? And so real?

2. Another scary aspect of this story is that a lot of the crime happened because these people are marked as killers. If you go around a put a sign on someone that says, “Hey! This person is going to kill someone someday, and it could be you!” don’t you think those people might end up being targets themselves? I mean, there’s a huge possibility that a person who would not have otherwise killed someone, might just kill that “killer” to prevent them from possibly killing. PLUS, these “killers” are going to live up to their label because they are being punished as someone who already has. I mean, why not kill that person you hate if your life is views as being worthless anyway? What more can the government do? What kind of twisted logic is this? In an effort to lower the crime rate, I seriously feel like the government in this book raised it instead.

3. So, we have all of these “killers”. One of them is sweet, innocent Davy who had her entire life ahead of her until that life-changing phone call made her lose her family, her boyfriend, her friends, EVERYTHING in a matter of seconds. And there’s nothing she can do about it. She will never EVER prove anyone wrong. Boy, did I feel for her. I was just like Davy in high school. I was viewed as being the person who had a bright future and was liked by everyone. I just kept thinking about what I would have done if I were in Davy’s shoes. I don’t even have words. Scared, terrified, heartbroken, hopeless, defeated. None of those words equal the pain of what something like this could do to a person. I connected with Davy so much, and felt for her SO much that it hurt me. She handled it so well. I was proud.

4. Because of Davy’s past, she was given the opportunity to be trained instead of sent to a detention camp. The government thought that they could train her to not give in to her killer instincts. She ended up going with two other carriers from school, both of which she liked. There’s Gil, who was very sweet and caring and then there’s Sean, the guy with the bad boy exterior who is so much more than what you see on the surface.

5. Speaking of Sean, I LOVED him. I was having a hard time with this book until I got to know Sean better. I loved how broken and worn down he was when I first met him, and then how Davy gave him a reason to act like a human. He immediately felt very protective of her and shielded her from a pervy teacher and a bully. He always seemed to be there when she needed him. She was his reason to live, and I loved seeing his dormant, feeling side awaken when he had a reason to wake it up.

6. I mentioned before that I had a hard time getting into this book before, and that’s because it is so depressing. I felt awful for the characters and the abuse they went through. Some of them deserved it, but not Davy, Gil, and Sean. They were just confused teenagers trying to figure out how to survive under their knew title of “HTS Carrier”. I swear that none of them would hurt a fly, but that doesn’t matter. AHHH. The feels.

7. There’s still so much we don’t know, and I closed the book feeling hopeful but also a little anxious! I’m just so concerned!

Uninvited is a book that resonates so deeply because of all the feelings is brings out in its readers. This horrific world in which these characters live is even more horrific because it seems so real. I just could not stop thinking about how devastating it would be to find out that people trusted a scientific theory more than they trusted me, their loved one. I love that Sophie Jordan made me think and feel so many things. I can’t wait to see what happens to these characters! PLEASE bring on the second book!

DISCUSS: So, what are your thoughts? I feel like this review was much more philosophical than most of my reviews are. What do you think of the idea presented in this book–that human beings are not able to make moral decisions that go against their DNA? Are you as scared of this idea as I am?

4 Stars

The Selection by Kiera Cass | Book Review

Posted January 24, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 15 Comments

The Selection by Kiera Cass | Book ReviewThe Selection by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #1
Published by HarperTEEN on April 24, 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 327
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add to Goodreads
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

If you’ve paid attention to reviews of The Selection in the blog world, you know the kind of love hate relationship people have with this book. They love it, or they hate it. I haven’t really seen a middle ground. I’m not sure why, but I’m intrigued. I’m always intrigued by books who get received this way, but I’m also leery of them at the same time. It took me a long time to finally get to this book, but I really enjoyed it! As always my main points are bolded. :)

1. I’m just going to throw it out there and say that I LOVE The Bachelor. It is one of my favorite TV shows, and Mondays are much less dread-worthy when a season of The Bachelor/Bachelorette is running. I was immediately in love with the idea of this book for that reason. The girls apply, they get selected to be a part of this crazy dating game, there’s girl drama, there’s a handsome prince. I mean, come ON.

2. America applies to be selected because she promises her love, Aspen, that she will. She is of higher class than he is, so marrying him means literally marrying down. And Aspen does not have the heart to let America do that when she could easily avoid it. So he makes her apply, because then he knows she did everything she could and he does not have to feel bad for holding her back. And of course, she is selected. She goes into this game for the money, and the money alone. She flat-out TELLS the prince this. They agree to be secret friends. I love that this happens. I have so much respect for America for being upfront and honest with Prince Maxon. I love that he likes her enough to be her friend. In the midst of an out of this world game in a dystopian society, a sense of normalcy rises from these two. It’s realistic. And I love that America chooses to hold on to Aspen. But that prince is cute… and sweet… and oh, crap. Is she falling for him? That is the question. And surprises happen.

3. The relationships tear me in both directions. I like Maxon and I like Aspen. I like who America is with both of them. Maxon is understanding and caring. And he has no clue about girls, which makes him so endearing. I love watching him try. And Aspen is honorable and so concerned and unselfish. I don’t know how to feel! I love it when a book does this to me.

4. This totally read like a first book, which was a bit disappointing. What I mean is that the stage was set, but not a lot happened. It’s like the first episode of The Bachelor when we’re introduced to the girls, we decide who we hate and love, and nothing really happens because there’s so many people involved. Relationships are not really happening yet. I feel like nobody is really attached to anyone, and there’s not much dating or deciding on Maxon’s part. The other girls are just background scenery. Meh. That’s ok, though, because there are more books. I just would have loved a little more meat to this first one.

5. The society of this world is really interesting. I like the caste system and all the political stuff behind the game… and the rules… the attacks against the kingdom… and the culture. I hope to learn more about this world in the next book.

All in all, this was a great read! I’m excited to continue the series, and I am hoping for more drama and confusion from the characters. If you like dystopian novels, definitely give this one a shot!

4 Stars