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Hunted by Meagan Spooner ARC {5 Stars}

Hunted by Meagan Spooner ARC {5 Stars}

Hunted by Meagan Spooner
Published by HarperTeen on March 14th, 2017
Genres: Fairytale Retelling, YA
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
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Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

5 Stars

Hope you all are still enjoying my bare-bones, just-notes reviews when I must!

Note: I received an advanced copy of Hunted from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Strengths:
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The White Rose by Amy Ewing eARC {4 Stars}

The White Rose by Amy Ewing is a smashing sequel to The Jewel that continues with the same addictive writing and uber cool magic that I loved from book one! There will be major spoilers below for The Jewel though, so check out my review of it to be safe ;-). Basically, if you liked The Jewel, you will greatly enjoy The White Rose, though it stumbles a bit from second book syndrome. I need book three stat though!

Note: I received an advanced copy of The White Rose from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The White Rose by Amy Ewing eARC {4 Stars}

The White Rose by Amy Ewing (The Lone City #2)
Published by HarperTeen on Oct. 6th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 320 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Violet is on the run. After the Duchess of the Lake catches Violet with Ash, the hired companion at the Palace of the Lake, Violet has no choice but to escape the Jewel or face certain death. So along with Ash and her best friend, Raven, Violet runs away from her unbearable life of servitude.

But no one said leaving the Jewel would be easy. As they make their way through the circles of the Lone City, Regimentals track their every move, and the trio barely manages to make it out unscathed and into the safe haven they were promised—a mysterious house in the Farm.

But there’s a rebellion brewing, and Violet has found herself in the middle of it. Alongside a new ally, Violet discovers her Auguries are much more powerful than she ever imagined. But is she strong enough to rise up against the Jewel and everything she has ever known?

The White Rose is a raw, captivating sequel to The Jewel that fans won’t be able to put down until the final shocking moments.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White eARC {3.5 Stars}

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White is a standalone historical fantasy that combines terrifying magic with rather thoughtful commentary on colonialism and the accompanying racism. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from Illusions of Fate and didn’t realize how much magic played a role in its plot. I really enjoyed the magic and world that White created here, to the point that I wish this wasn’t a standalone! The first half of Illusions of Fate was definitely my favorite part of the book, meaning that I ended up being a little disappointed, but it was a fun ride.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Illusions of Fate from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White eARC {3.5 Stars}

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Published by HarperTeen on Sept. 9th, 2014
Genres: Historical Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 275 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

3.5 Stars

Strengths:
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Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker eARC {3 Stars}

Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker is a spooky tale set in the swamplands of the south and full of a diverse array of characters to boot. Even if you’re a bit of a scaredy cat like myself, you just have to get through the first half and it becomes much safer to read Beware the Wild before bed ;-). While in the end Beware the Wild didn’t finish as strong as it started, fans of gothic and southern tales, as well as standalones, won’t want to miss out.

Note: I received an advanced copy of Beware the Wild from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker eARC {3 Stars}

Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker
Published by HarperTeen on Oct. 21st, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 336 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp -- the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed.

Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance -- and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.

3 Stars

Strengths:
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The Jewel by Amy Ewing eARC {4 Stars}

The Jewel by Amy Ewing is a daring mix of dystopian and fantasy elements that brings a breath of fresh air to the YA dystopian trend. I honestly hadn’t even planned on reading The Jewel since it looked like just another dystopian with a dress on the cover, but I’m so glad I gave it a go! The Jewel is full of action and suspense along with a very cool magic system and a world that is far different from our own. The Jewel also pleasantly surprised me by pushing the magic abilities in directions I’ve never read about before, which is saying something given my love of new magic ;-).

Note: I received an advanced copy of The Jewel from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

The Jewel by Amy Ewing eARC {4 Stars}

The Jewel by Amy Ewing (The Lone City #1)
Published by HarperTeen on Sept. 2nd, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 358 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Rebel by Amy Tintera eARC {4 Stars} + Giveaway!

Rebel by Amy Tintera

Rebel by Amy Tintera is the sequel to Reboot and continues Wren’s adventure as a super-strong, fast-healing zombie-ish girl battling against the corrupt organization trying to enslave her and her fellow Reboots. Since Rebel is a sequel, there are spoilers below for Reboot, so maybe check out my review of Reboot instead. However, don’t miss the giveaway at the end of the post! This series is an excellent example of how great a duology can be since Rebel manages to stay focused on the main problem of HARC, adding in some more world-building and character development, but not trying to stretch things out to a third book. You definitely don’t have to worry about second-book syndrome here!

Note: I received Rebel through Edelweiss. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Rebel by Amy Tintera eARC {4 Stars} + Giveaway!

Rebel by Amy Tintera (Reboot #2)
Published by HarperTeen on May 13th, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, YA
Page Length: 352 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

After coming back from death as Reboots and being trained by HARC as soldiers, Wren and Callum have finally escaped north, where they hope to find a life of freedom. But when they arrive at the Reboot Reservation, it isn't what they expected. Under the rule of a bloodthirsty leader, Micah, the Reboots are about to wage an all-out war on the humans. Although Wren's instincts are telling her to set off into the wilderness on their own and leave the battle far behind, Callum is unwilling to let his human family be murdered. When Micah commits the ultimate betrayal, the choice is made for them. But Micah has also made a fatal mistake . . . he's underestimated Wren and Callum.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Perfect Lies by Kiersten White eARC {4 Stars}

Perfect Lies is the sequel to Mind Games and continues right where Mind Games left off with more intrigue, awesome mind powers, and an amazing sisterly dynamic. I quite enjoyed Mind Games, though this series is clearly not for everyone. If you enjoy stream-of-consciousness narration, crazy timelines interweaving, and broken characters, you should definitely check out this series, but go read Mind Games since there will be spoilers below ;-). If you have already read Mind Games, you will probably enjoy Perfect Lies just about the same amount that you did Mind Games, it all depends on your preferences, haha.

Note: I received Perfect Lies through Edelweiss for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Perfect Lies by Kiersten White eARC {4 Stars}

Perfect Lies by Kiersten White (Mind Games #2)
Published by HarperTeen on Feb. 18th, 2014
Genres: Sci-fi, YA
Page Length: 232 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Annie and Fia are ready to fight back.

The sisters have been manipulated and controlled by the Keane Foundation for years, trapped in a never ending battle for survival. Now they have found allies who can help them truly escape. After faking her own death, Annie has joined a group that is plotting to destroy the Foundation. And Fia is working with James Keane to bring his father down from the inside.

But Annie's visions of the future can't show her who to trust in the present. And though James is Fia's first love, Fia knows he's hiding something. The sisters can rely only on each other - but that may not be enough to save them.

4 Stars

Strengths:
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Uninvited by Sophie Jordan eARC {3 Stars}

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan has a premise that reminded me a lot of Minority Report, but for YA, and in some ways it does deliver on that. Uninvited is set in a future where a gene has been identified that is associated with murderous tendencies and all people in the US are gradually being forced to be tested for that gene. I really wanted Uninvited to have some interesting insight into nature versus nurture, and while it did make me think about that dichotomy somewhat, it didn’t quite go as far as I wanted regarding how reliable a killer gene might be as a predictor of a person’s life.

Note: I received an eARC of Uninvited through Edelweiss for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan eARC {3 Stars}

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan (Uninvited #1)
Published by HarperTeen on Jan. 28th, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Sci-fi, YA
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

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.

3 Stars

Strengths:

  • Davy is the main character of Uninvited and she goes through some interesting character development. I thought it was quite realistic that just because she is diagnosed with having the killer gene, doesn’t mean she instantly becomes a kick-butt heroine. She remains a fairly innocent teenage girl for much of Uninvited, until circumstances push her to extremes.
  • I love sci-fi premises that ask interesting questions, and Uninvited asks a fascinating question about human nature. We’re all still trying to figure out how much of a person comes from their genes and how much comes from the environment they are in. I hope that the future doesn’t come to rely on genetics as much as Uninvited’s world does, but it’s a good warning to keep in mind.
  • There is a bad boy romance angle, but I actually liked it for once! In Uninvited, the bad boy is another person with the killer gene, so he is considered dangerous from the start, but Davy gets the chance to find out the truth about him throughout Uninvited.
  • Uninvited is quite fast-paced. I was reading it while traveling for the holidays and it was a great book to keep me entertained through those long car rides ;-).

Weaknesses:

  •  I was really concerned with how the ending would be wrapped up and it is literally wrapped up in about 10 pages. It was waaaay too convenient and didn’t really demand any initiative on Davy’s part.
  • As a biologist, I have a hard time buying the premise of Uninvited. We know today already that genes heavily interact with a person’s environment and we haven’t been able to find any specific genes for personality traits. I really hope that if we ever did find a gene associated with violent tendencies, we’d keep in mind all the people with that gene that made it through life without criminal charges and all the criminal without the gene.
  • The plot of Uninvited felt pretty disjointed and undirected. Davy was basically just reacting to all the consequences of having this killer gene and never really had a goal of any kind. Additionally, Uninvited is separated into two parts, which are very different in tone and didn’t really seem to fit together into one book.
  • The interesting question regarding human nature that Uninvited poses is never really answered. Davy is put through these horrible situations and starts believing that she is a killer, but really anyone in that situation would start to break in my opinion. I wanted Davy to realize that how she was being treated probably had a lot more to do with her reactions than any gene. Human behavior experiments have shown that if you treat people like criminals, they are much more likely to become criminals.
  • There are some weird pop culture references in Uninvited that just make no sense from a chronological perspective. If I recall correctly, Davy doesn’t know who Brad Pitt is, but watches reruns of Glee. In a couple of generations, I really doubt we’ll still be watching reruns of any shows currently playing.

Summary:

Uninvited has a lot of potential, but I just didn’t feel that it delivered on that potential. It was fun to read due to the fast-pacing and relate-ability of Davy as a character, but it didn’t take the sci-fi to the next level to move beyond a fun YA read. If the premise sounds intriguing and you aren’t worried about the sci-fi aspect, definitely give Uninvited a read. However, don’t go in expecting Uninvited to deliver on a strong sci-fi element.

3 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

4 Stars: The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White ARC

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White grabbed me immediately from the description. The Egyptian mythology is one which hasn’t seen as much attention in the YA trends, so I was excited to see what White did with it. I actually read The Chaos of Stars in one 6-hour sitting, since it’s a fairly short book and was just a fun read ;-). I’ve noticed that my like of The Chaos of Stars is in the minority though, so judge for yourself :).

Note: I borrowed an ARC of The Chaos of Stars from a friend. Some things may be different in the final version.

4 Stars: The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White ARC

The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White
Published by HarperTeen on September 10th, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 288 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up.

Of course, as the human daughter of Egyptian gods, that pretty much comes with the territory. She’s also stuck with parents who barely notice her, and a house full of relatives who can’t be bothered to remember her name. After all, they are going to be around forever—and she’s a mere mortal.

Isadora’s sick of living a life where she’s only worthy of a passing glance, and when she has the chance to move to San Diego with her brother, she jumps on it. But Isadora’s quickly finding that a “normal” life comes with plenty of its own epic complications—and that there’s no such thing as a clean break when it comes to family. Much as she wants to leave her past behind, she can’t shake the ominous dreams that foretell destruction for her entire family. When it turns out there may be truth in her nightmares, Isadora has to decide whether she can abandon her divine heritage after all. --Goodreads

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • I’m no expert on Egyptian myths, but I thought that the lore of Chaos of Stars was done in a fun and fairly accurate way. I’m interested if anyone that knows more about the actual myths than I do has opinions that they’d like to share!
  • Thank you for good guy love interests! I was quite pleased with the adorable crush stage of the romance and found Ry to be an all around solid character.
  • Isadora (MC) appealed to me in her social awkwardness. Since she has been raised in a fair amount of isolation from the “normal” world, it was amusing to see her figure things out. The stream of consciousness sections of writing were also entertaining since I have felt similarly in the past ;-).
  • I am not someone who knows much about interior design, but since Isadora is a fan and quite talented, it was really interesting to find out more about that through reading The Chaos of Stars.

Weaknesses:

  •  The ending of The Chaos of Stars was a bit rushed and a bit easy, but I was still satisfied.
  • Isadora is a bit of a teenager when she is stating that she will never be in love and has never been loved. The representation of a moody teenager certainly is accurate, but I would have liked if she had been a little less obviously silly, since we all knew she would fall for the guy in the end. Despite this, The Chaos of Stars still manages to pull off a bit of insta-love/insta-attraction.
  • Without spoilers, The Chaos of Stars includes myths other than Egyptian ones towards the end, which kind of ruined the lore for me. We have enough books with other myths in them, why couldn’t The Chaos of Stars only be based on the Egyptian myths? :(

Summary:

I went in to The Chaos of Stars knowing it would be a short, amusing, YA fantasy and that is exactly what I got. While there weren’t any deep thoughts, I liked the use of Egyptian lore for once and found the snippets of myths at the beginning of each chapter very interesting. Reading The Chaos of Stars makes me more curious about Kiersten White’s other work, since I had been dubious due to reviews, but apparently I differ on this writing style than a lot of other reviewers >.>.

4 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White

Four Stars: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver Audiobook

Read and Review HopIn Delirium, the goal was to get out, now in Pandemonium, the goal for Lena is to survive. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver, the second book in the Delirium trilogy, answers the question “What do you do after escaping the dystopian government?” and the answer seems to be “Just keep running.” This fast-paced dystopian YA tells the story of Lena learning how to fight against the government that took everything from her and tries to just keep taking.

As you may recall, I started the Delirium trilogy because the first two books were available on audio from my library, and it’s a fairly limited selection ;-). This review is for the second book, Pandemonium, so it will have major spoilers for the first book, so instead you should go check out my review of Delirium here. Now that that’s taken care of, let’s get down to the good stuff :D


Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver Goodreads Amazon
Title:
Pandemonium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Length: 10 hours 34 minutes (9 discs)
Genre-ish: Dystopia YA
Rating★★★ – mostly epic, ending stumbled

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.
 — Goodreads

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