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After Atlas by Emma Newman ARC {5 Stars}

After Atlas by Emma Newman ARC {5 Stars}

After Atlas by Emma Newman (Planetfall)
Published by Roc on November 8, 2016
Genres: Dystopia, Sci-fi
Page Length: 336 pages
How I got my copy: NetGalley, Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Govcorp detective Carlos Moreno was only a baby when Atlas left Earth to seek truth among the stars. But in that moment, the course of Carlos’s entire life changed. Atlas is what took his mother away; what made his father lose hope; what led Alejandro Casales, leader of the religious cult known as the Circle, to his door. And now, on the eve of the fortieth anniversary of Atlas’s departure, it’s got something to do why Casales was found dead in his hotel room—and why Carlos is the man in charge of the investigation.

To figure out who killed one of the most powerful men on Earth, Carlos is supposed to put aside his personal history. But the deeper he delves into the case, the more he realizes that escaping the past is not so easy. There’s more to Casales’s death than meets the eye, and something much more sinister to the legacy of Atlas than anyone realizes...

5 Stars

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

Strengths:
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The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore ARC {3 Stars}

The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore is a futuristic utopia for middle grade readers. I loved that the utopian society felt believable while still leaving room for a few kids to find out something was wrong and work to fix it. If you have a young reader who isn’t quite ready for the YA dystopian trend yet, this would be a great place to start.

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

The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore ARC {3 Stars}

The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blackmore
Published by Bloomsbury on May 3rd, 2016
Genres: Dystopia, MG
Page Length: 352 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Mori and her friends live a normal life on Firefly Lane in their utopian community, Old Harmonie. In a world this safe and perfect, they've never had to question anything . . . never had to wonder about how their lives came to be. Until a new girl named Ilana moves in. She's so perfect that Mori and her friends are curious . . . Where exactly did Ilana come from, and why does she act so strange sometimes? When Ilana's secret is revealed, the kids on Firefly Lane must decide: is it finally time to start questioning the only world they've ever known?

3 Stars

Strengths:
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Dissension by Stacey Berg {Just Hatched}

Just Hatched Book Feature

Just Hatched is a feature where I share my first impressions of a book after the first chapter. Check out the announcement post for more information.

Dissension by Stacey Berg is a sci-fi dystopian that takes the dystopia idea to the max with a realistic portrayal of how society might attempt to endure. Add on a same-sex romance and a kick-butt heroine and I can’t recommend this enough. I will definitely be reading the rest asap.

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

Dissension by Stacey Berg {Just Hatched}

Dissension by Stacey Berg (Echo Hunter 367 #1)
Published by Harper Voyager on March 15th, 2016
Genres: Adult, Dystopia, Sci-fi
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Barnes & Noble - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

For four hundred years, the Church has led the remnants of humanity as they struggle for survival in the last inhabited city. Echo Hunter 367 is exactly what the Church created her to be: loyal, obedient, lethal. A clone who shouldn’t care about anything but her duty. Who shouldn’t be able to.

When rebellious citizens challenge the Church’s authority, it is Echo’s duty to hunt them down before civil war can tumble the city back into the dark. But Echo hides a deadly secret: doubt. And when Echo’s mission leads her to Lia, a rebel leader who has a secret of her own, Echo is forced to face that doubt. For Lia holds the key to the city’s survival, and Echo must choose between the woman she loves and the purpose she was born to fulfill.

4.5 Stars

[Read more…]

The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons {Just Hatched}

Just Hatched Book Feature

Just Hatched is a feature where I share my first impressions of a book after the first chapter. Check out the announcement post for more information.

The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons is a pretty hyped book and I was excited to get my hands on a copy. I had actually been planning on trying to read the whole thing but found I just wasn’t in the mood for the tone so instead it gets to be my first Just Hatched! I read 8% of The Glass Arrow, which is actually a fair bit more than the first chapter, but I was stuck waiting for a prescription to fill so what else was I to do? ;-)

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

The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons {Just Hatched}

The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons
Published by Tor Teen on Feb. 10th, 2015
Genres: Dystopia, YA
Page Length: 336 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.

[Read more…]

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon {3 Stars}

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon is a very ambitious combination of psychic powers, underground crime syndicates, and otherworldly creatures. I’ll admit I had put off reading The Bone Season for this long because I’m just not that into psychic powers for some reason and the blurb never grabbed me, and it turns out that perhaps my first instincts were right. I can see the impressive and original parts of The Bone Season, and I still read through it surprisingly fast, but by the end I just didn’t actually feel anything still. Since I know a lot of you have read and loved this one, I’m very interested in hearing your thoughts!

Note: I received a copy of The Bone Season from the publisher. 

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon {3 Stars}

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (The Bone Season #1)
Published by Bloomsbury on Aug. 20th, 2013
Genres: Alternative History, Dystopia, Fantasy, Genre-bender, YA
Page Length: 452 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

3 Stars

Strengths:
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Hungry by H. A. Swain ARC {4 Stars}

Hungry by H. A. Swain is a chilling portrayal of what our future could be if our society continues down its current trajectory as well as a coming-of-age story about a girl named Thalia when she realizes her world is much different than she thought. I have to admit that there are days when I wish I could just chug my Synthamil and not have to plan what meals to cook for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but a world without chocolate is obviously unacceptable! Hungry is a refreshing combination of believable future technologies, friend and family relationships that actually make sense, and a dystopian society that gets back to the grittier roots of the genre. There is of course also the adorable but forbidden romance, but since Hungry is a standalone you don’t have to worry about love triangle developing ;-).

Note: I received Hungry from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Hungry by H. A. Swain ARC {4 Stars}

Hungry by H. A. Swain
Published by Feiwel & Friends on June 3rd, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, YA
Page Length: 384 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

In the future, food is no longer necessary—until Thalia begins to feel something unfamiliar and uncomfortable. She’s hungry.

In Thalia’s world, there is no need for food—everyone takes medication (or “inocs”) to ward off hunger. It should mean there is no more famine, no more obesity, no more food-related illnesses, and no more war. At least that's what her parents, who work for the company that developed the inocs, say. But when Thalia meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that most people live a life much different from hers. Worse, Thalia is starting to feel hunger, and so is he—the inocs aren’t working. Together they set out to find the only thing that will quell their hunger: real food.

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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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

Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau ARC {3 Stars}

Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau is the second in The Testing trilogy. There are going to major spoilers in this review for The Testing because that’s how edge of your seat trilogies go ;-). I was one of the people who loved The Testing, unfortunately I wasn’t quite as in love with Independent Study. I did read my copy on Adobe Digital Editions, so that could have partially disturbed my reading mindset; it’s hard for me to tell, except that I know I don’t like reading on ADE. Anyway, Independent Study had the same writing style and dystopian thrills as The Testing, but it didn’t have as clear of a goal and plot, which bothered me. This is the freaking mother of all cliffhangers…. Or maybe just endings that aren’t endings that you wish were compelling cliffhangers…. We’ll see!

Note: I received Independent Study through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau ARC {3 Stars}

Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau (The Testing #2)
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on January 7th, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, YA
Page Length: 320 pages
How I got my copy: Edelweiss
Amazon - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.

3 Stars

Strengths:

  • The beginning of Independent Study was a lot of fun with the university setting. I just graduated undergrad, and so I might be biased here, but I found the lead up to university life quite intriguing.
  • Between Cia’s actual memories and the recording, there is a lot of character re-development for her. She changed a lot during The Testing, and now she has to figure out who she really wants to be. This was pretty fun to go through with her.
  • There is no love triangle, whew. I also quite enjoyed the dynamic with Thomas of a relationship that has to figure out how to forgive and they manage to do so in quite a healthy way, yey functional relationships!
  • The Testing was criticized for being very much like The Hunger Games (fairly in some ways), however Independent Study is not like Catching Fire at all, especially on the surface elements people noticed previously.

Weaknesses:

  •  The ending of Independent Study was barely an ending in my opinion. You could call it a cliffhanger, except it wasn’t all that dramatic. I almost wonder if I didn’t get the full book, except my page-count agrees with Goodreads…. Yes this makes me want to read the next book, but not in an excited way, more in a completion, I need an ending way.
  • Partially because of the ending, Independent Study has hardcore second book issues in that it doesn’t have a plot of its own. It is just setting up for the third book.
  • There were still a lot of problems with show don’t tell, since conversations were described instead of read through dialogue, etc. Hopefully this will be fixed in the final version.

Summary:

While I was very excited for Independent Study, I was also a bit disappointed. It has a strong start, but faltered at the end by being cut off before any real resolutions could happen. I’m a strong believer in second books of trilogies still having a plot of their own, hence my disappointment with this aspect. I am excited to see a strong relationship being continued as a support to the plot instead of the plot itself! I will definitely be reading the third book, but if you didn’t like The Testing, you probably won’t be happy with Independent Study unfortunately.

3 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings – Anya

 

 Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau

Reboot by Amy Tintera Audiobook {4 Stars}

Reboot by Amy Tintera is a delicious mix of sci-fi, dystopia, and zombies, with a healthy dash of romance. Zombies I say?? Why yes, though not the normal kind of zombies I must admit. I’m not how many people would agree with me on that, since the Reboots are approached from a fairly dystopian angle, but when dead people rise due to a virus, I can’t help but think zombie ;-). I’ve had Reboot sitting on my shelf for about six months, ever since Tintera came through my city on the Dark Days tour! However, I finally downloaded the audiobook version because my favorite narrator (Khristine Hvam) voices Reboot, and I’m so glad I did! It also means my signed copy can sit safe on my shelf forever now :D.

Note: I listened to the audiobook version of Reboot, which definitely colors my opinion of the book.

Reboot by Amy Tintera Audiobook {4 Stars}

Reboot by Amy Tintera
Narrated by Khristine Hvam
(Reboot #1)
Published by HarperCollins on May 7th, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Sci-fi, YA
Page Length: 365 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
Purchases made support this blog

Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • I love that Reboot is basically a combination of zombie and super-humans. It’s such a delightful sci-fi take on the normal horror trope, and since it’s sci-fi I wasn’t too scared either :D.
  • Did I mention already that Khristine Hvam is my favorite narrator? Yes? Well I’m gonna say it again! The narration on Reboot was amazing and definitely made the book for me. I cannot recommend listening to Reboot enough if you like audiobooks. (Khristine Hvam also narrated Daughter of Smoke and Bone 1 & 2, check those out!)
  • Ren and Callum are our lead characters and they are pretty freaking cute. Since we’re getting the whole story through Ren’s perspective, it is especially amusing to hear her thoughts of Callum when she first meets him and later on ;-). While I wouldn’t call their relationship slow burn necessarily, it definitely felt well-paced and realistic given the circumstances.
  • Ren has a pretty limited knowledge of her world due to what her life has been like so far, but there have been some interesting hints that all is not as it seems. I’m so excited to see what the next book holds since I’m hopeful and suspicious that our understanding of Reboots is going to completely change *crosses fingers*.

Weaknesses:

  •  So Ren starts off the book claiming to feel no emotions and not really understand human behavior anymore since she was dead for so long. But then she starts feeling emotions and participating in human behavior quite easily. This transition kind of bugged me, since it didn’t seem consistent with her character, though I’m hoping that it is explained later in the series!
  • I’ve seen others point out that the romance is too much in Reboot. I wouldn’t say that exactly, but it definitely plays a bigger role than what really seemed necessary. It worked for me because Ren and Callum worked for me, but if you don’t like one of them, I can see where they would get annoying.
  • I was pretty surprised when Reboot ended. I had definitely expected it to continue for a bit longer. Reboot could almost be a stand alone with how things end (which doesn’t really make sense with my feelings that the ending was abrupt, I’m conflicted!), mostly because I don’t really know what the big conflict of the next book is going to be ya know? I’ve gotten so used to YA cliffhangers that a first book that doesn’t emphasize the problems remaining to be solve in the rest of the series was a bit surprising ;-).

Summary:

I very much enjoyed Reboot, though I think that if I had read it instead of listened, my rating would be a little lower. The narration did a wonderful job of making me really like Ren and Callum as characters. I want to be friends with them! If you listen to audiobooks you should definitely listen to this one, since I think I won’t be the only one that enjoys listening more than reading Reboot. I will test this theory with the second book though!

4 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Reboot by Amy Tintera