Book Review- Gemina

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Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 18th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Pages: 608
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Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

After not really loving Illuminae (read my review here), I went into this with relatively low expectations. Maybe that’s why I liked this one so much more. Or maybe this one was really just that much better.

I liked Hanna and Nik a million times more than Kady and Ezra. They were more entertaining, more unique, and just better characters in general. All of the characters in Gemina were more dimensional than in Illuminae, even if they still were a little too similar for my taste.

The plot in this one was pretty similar to the plot in Illuminae, and none of the twists surprised me (not that they did in Illuminae…. you know what? I’m just going to stop talking about Illuminae now.), but I still found them enjoyable. Even though the twist in this one was more “out-there”, I found it much more believable and enjoyable (than Illuminae… Ugh why am I still talking about this? I’m hopeless).

I loved that in this second installment in the series, I could actually tell the difference between who the characters were, and it didn’t sound like they were all 12 year olds. It was great.

I would definitely recommend reading this one if you’ve read the first one (even if you didn’t necessarily like the first one… like me) because this was So. Much. Better. Like 10000% better. Also, if you like sci-fi, you should give this series a go. It’s not so bad after all. Also I can’t wait for Obsideo now!! If it follows this pattern of getting better, than it is going to be amazing!!

I am going to give Gemina four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Traveler

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Traveler by L. E. Delano
Published by Swoon Reads on February 7, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Pages: 352
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Amazon

Jessa has spent her life dreaming of other worlds and writing down stories more interesting than her own, until the day her favorite character, Finn, suddenly shows up and invites her out for coffee. After the requisite nervous breakdown, Jessa learns that she and Finn are Travelers, born with the ability to slide through reflections and dreams into alternate realities. But it’s not all steampunk pirates and fantasy lifestyles—Jessa is dying over and over again, in every reality, and Finn is determined that this time, he’s going to stop it…This Jessa is going to live.

Traveler is one of those books that’s been on my TBR since before it came out. The idea behind the book sounded really interesting, but for some reason I was reluctant to pick it up. I finally checked it out from the library, and I am so glad I did, guys. This book really surprised me, and I ended up enjoying more than I ever thought I would!

The beginning of the book was a little confusing. I loved when Jessa met Finn and started to learn about being a traveler, but the whole idea behind travelers was a little hard to grasp at first. I had so many questions about why and how… but thankfully all of my questions were answered and the plot holes were filled in. So while I was kinda worried that this book would leave me unsatisfied with a half-cooked amazing idea, I am happy to report that everything was explained!

I thought Jessa and Finn were adorable too. I loved being able to meet alternate versions of each character, and explore all of the different worlds. The worlds were so well imagined and super cool, and each of the alternate characters from the different worlds were really fun to read about.

I loved how independent Jessa was. Sure, she wasn’t the strongest character out there, but all her reactions felt honest, and I loved how she stood up for what she believed in.
Finn and Ben (Jessa’s best friend/other love interest) were both awesome characters, as were Jessa’s mom, brother, and pretty much everyone. I just really enjoyed the characters in this book. They were all so developed and interesting, and even the alternates for each character were individual and well developed. It was easy to distinguish between each alternate, which really just added an amazing element to the book.

The ending of this book completely took me by surprise as well. The ending definitely just made the book for me. It broke my heart but also gave me so much hope. I really can’t wait for the next one to come out. I need to know what is going to happen!!
I would recommend this book to basically anyone who loved a good YA science fiction with some good swoons in it. This book was altogether adorable and heart pounding, and it was totally worth the read!

I am going to give Traveler four out of five hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Winter

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Winter by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 10, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Retelling
Pages: 827
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Amazon

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

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

If you haven’t read my reviews of books 1-3 of the Lunar Chronicles: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress

I had such high hopes for this book. This series was one of those that just seemed to get better the further I got. Maybe it was because of those high hopes that I was kind of let down by the finale of the Lunar Chronicles.

I know that this series is a fairy tale retelling. Cinder is Cinderella; Scarlet is Little Red Riding Hood; Cress is Rapunzel; and Winter is Snow White. I don’t have any problems with that. I love retellings! Love them so much. Which is why I’m kind of confused by my disappointment for this one.

It’s not that this book was bad. It was entertaining. I had fun reading it. But it just wasn’t anything special for me. Everything was kind of predictable (yeah, yeah, it’s a retelling, but still…) and it just fell a little flat for me. I had the same problem with Winter as I did with Cinder (the books, not the characters): they were just kind of “eh.”

After Scarlet and Cress, which were both super fast-paced and interesting, I couldn’t help but feel let down by Winter. The characters and world building and plot were still good and interesting… but this book just was not my favorite.

Maybe it was because this book was over 800 pages… but at the same time I don’t think the story could really be told in less. I wish I could tell you what exactly I didn’t like about Winter, but it really wasn’t anything in particular. The book just fell flat.

I would still recommend this book/series to lovers of dystopia, or anyone looking for a good dystopia series to try out. But, that being said, this series as a whole is not my favorite one out there.

I am going to give Winter three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Cress

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Cress by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel and Friends on February 4 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Retellings
Pages: 552
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Amazon

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

Yet again I fell in love with the Lunar Chronicles.

This book introduced Cress to the team of Cinder, Scarlet, Wolf, Captain Thorne, and Iko (can’t forget the awesome android). Cress again added a new side to this wild ride of a story, and I was not let down. Her story (Meyer’s version of Rapunzel) was super cool (if you can call being locked in a satellite “cool”) and really interesting. And, at one point I literally stood up and starting screaming “WHAT???? NO… WHATTTTTT??” but I’m not going to tell you why because that would be giving away too much. You’re just going to have to read it to see what I’m talking about.

Again I loved both the character development and the plot progression. I loved that Kai’s struggle was also well integrated, and his character was not forgotten among all of the other stuff going on. I loved how everything was tied together, and now I need to get my hands on Winter so I can find out what happens because I am going slightly crazy with not knowing.

So, as you can see, I really enjoyed this book, and if you have read Cinder and Scarlet, I don’t know what you are waiting for. Read Cress. Just do it.

I am going to give Cress four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Illuminae

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Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on October 20 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Pages: 599
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This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Illuminae definitely made for an interesting read. It was told through interviews, IMs, reports, and a bunch of other media. There were even some posters thrown in there.
The beginning of this book was pretty slow and confusing, and I actually had to start it a few times before I could really get into it. But once I figured out what and who everyone was (actually I’m still a bit confused about who some people were…) the book started to make a lot more sense, and started to get a lot better.
I was worried that this book wouldn’t give me an emotional story because of how it was told. But, I was surprised, and actually got a pretty good story out of it. There was a bunch of comedy relief, and the broad range of media used to tell the story was entertaining, and made the 600 pages a lot less daunting.

The characters in this story had quite a few dimensions, but a lot of them felt like they had the same voice. There was a lot of the same kind of humor given by each of the characters, and even in “professional” reports it felt like they were written by my little brother. Actually, I think I read this whole book in his voice in my head, because it felt like every character was him. It was a pretty weird experience.

The last quarter of this book is what saved it in my eyes. The “twist” didn’t really surprise me, but I did find myself on the edge of my seat. I did feel a tug at my heart, so there definitely was some emotional connection with the story… just not as much as I wish there were.

I think I will end up reading Gemina (the sequel), and hopefully after the first half of this book (which was spent setting up this complicated universe) it will be a lot more entertaining and way less confusing.
I would recommend this book to people who are looking for an interesting YA science fiction, and are willing to put in the time to learn about this complicated universe.

I am going to give Illuminae three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Scarlet

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Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel and Friends on February 5, 2013
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Retellings
Pages: 454
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Amazon

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

After reading Cinder, I knew that Scarlet was going to make or break this series for me. I was pleasantly surprised.

Scarlet, Meyer’s version of Little Red Riding Hood, turned out to be AWESOME. Her character was tough and determined, and the combination of her and Cinder (even though they are not facing the world together) make for a very interesting story.

I was worried (mostly based on the title of the book) that the continuation of Cinder’s story wouldn’t be explored in detail. But I was wrong. Both Scarlet and Cinder went on awe inspiring and heart pounding journeys, along with some pretty awesome side kicks. I loved the mystery of Wolf and Captain Thorne’s personality.

The character development in Scarlet really surprised me (in a good way), and the plot was amazing. This is one of the few books where both the characters and the plot drew the story onward. There was this beautiful balance of the two that made Scarlet a wonderful read that I had a hard time putting down. And even then I finished it in two days!

If you read Cinder and aren’t quite sure if you should read Scarlet, DO IT. SCARLET WAS SO MUCH BETTER.

I am going to give Scarlet four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

Book Review- Cinder

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Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Published by Fiewel and Friends on January 3 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Pages: 390
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Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interference has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security,” but Cinder suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on.
Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an “honor” that no one has survived.
But it doesn’t take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.

So, not the most original book in the world.

Let me introduce you to Earth, hundreds (?) of years in the future. We have new nations and new laws. We have a prince and an evil foreign queen who is threatening war on Earth. We have a not-so-common girl with a hostile step-family (minus, of course, her younger step-sister) who might just become a savoir. But, what was I expecting? I knew what I was getting myself into when I picked Cinder up.

To be fair, I actually enjoyed this book a lot. It was entertaining, even if it was slightly (read: totally) predictable. I could see the “twist” at the end from a mile away, and there was nothing super surprising. But, the characters were interesting and multi-dimensional, and I liked learning more about them. 

What I did really like about this book (that set it apart from other dystopias) was that it is a kind of retelling of Cinderella. I thought that was pretty cool. I also really liked the technology in the book, and the fact that Cinder was a cyborg.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves dystopia and is looking for another series to dive into. This also would be a great first dystopia, for those of you who are looking for a place to start.

I am going to give Cinder three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- The Red Queen

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The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Published by Orion on February 12, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Dystopia, Science Fiction
Pages: 383
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This is a world divided by blood-red or silver.

The poverty-stricken Reds are commoners, living in the shadow of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from the Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Then Mare finds herself working at the Silver palace, in the midst of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

After having this book recommended *ahem, shoved in my face* multiple times by multiple people, I decided I should probably just read it- so at least I could tell people to back off if I didn’t like it. But, I was actually really surprised by this one.

I’ve been trying to move away from the dystopia book, mostly because after a while they just all sound the same. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed this so much- because I haven’t read a dystopia in quite some time.

Anyway, I’d be lying if I said that this book doesn’t remind me of others. It reminded me A LOT of The Selection series (which I also enjoyed, so I didn’t mind that at all), and had some similarities to a bunch of other dystopias, like the Hunger Games (the whole area/fighting aspect), and pretty much any dystopia where the main character finds out they have powers.

I loved the characters in this book, and the depth they had to them. Yes, some of the *ahem* not as important characters were a little one sided *ahem* Evangeline *ahem*. But for the most part, the characters were interesting and some had some very surprising sides to them.

The one thing that really sets the Red Queen apart from other dystopias was the theme repeated throughout the book: Anyone can betray anyone. It was so relevant throughout the story, and I felt like it really tied the events of the book together.
BUT THE END. OH THE END!!!!!! I wont spoil anything, but that just threw me for a loop. UGH. WHYYYYYYYY.

Anyway, I would definitely recommend this book to people who love YA, The Selection, and/or dystopia (or are looking to get into/back into dystopia). But just be sure to have the second book on hand, because if you are anything like me then you’ll have about two seconds to breathe before your nose is buried in the Glass Sword!

I am going to give Red Queen four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Nerve

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Nerve by Jeanne Ryan
Published by Dial Books on September 13, 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller, Science Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 294
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A high-stakes online game of dares turns deadly.

When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it’s exhilarating–Vee and Ian’s fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they’re directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly they’re playing all or nothing, with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE?

Nerve was quite the game. Vee is a quiet, behind the scenes type of girl, until she decides that she doesn’t want to be anymore. Vee joins NERVE, an online game run by unknown people where contestants face their fears to win prizes. She gets partnered up with Ian, a hot and mysterious boy, and together they have to face the demands of NERVE, and try to survive.

I really enjoyed the story and the characters (and of course NERVE). It was fast paced and kept me gripped the whole time. I couldn’t help but squirm at the characters discomfort and gasp when something almost went (or just went) wrong.

It was easy to relate to Vee, and interesting to see her world through her eyes. Most of the characters had a strong presence, although some did seem a little stereotypical. I feel like there could have been a bit more individuality, although the characters did fit their respective roles quite well.

I did see this movie when it came out (so before I read the book, as I have a bad habit of doing), but let me just tell you this: besides the characters names and the name of NERVE, the book and the movie have nothing in common. The dares are completely different, the game is set up differently, and the ending is not even close to the same. Both are incredible, but don’t skip out on either one. You’re going to want to experience them both.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves thrillers, or wants to get into them. It is a really quick read (I did it in four hours over two days), so its great for you if you don’t have a whole bunch of time.

I am going to give Nerve four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

Book Review- The Last Star

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The Last Star by Rick Yancey
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers on May 24 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Pages: 338
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The enemy is Other. The enemy is us.

They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.

In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves…or saving what makes us human.

After two incredible first books, I feel like The Last Star fell a little short. The characters were still awesome, and I was rooting for them 100%, but by the third book the trilogy lost its steam.

A lot of the plot points in this book felt like they were taken from books 1 and 2, reimagined, and thrown back in. It just felt repetitive. When a big decision came up, the outcome was too predictable. The characters didn’t grow and change, they just did the same things over and over again. Not that their decisions didn’t make sense (because they did), but I just wish that there were some more original situations that the characters needed to adapt to rather than having the same dilemmas over and over again.

I also found the alien’s motives more than a little confusing. Looking back, I’m still not exactly sure why they came to earth and what they were trying to accomplish. It felt like the reasons didn’t fit with the plot, and it just seemed strange. Also the way the plot was revealed seemed very unrealistic.

I was hoping that at least the end of the book would have a big bang, but I was let down. The end was predictable, and felt like it was trying too hard. The book didn’t feel resolved. It felt like I was left in some strange limbo version of the book, and there should have been another hundred pages to tie up the plot.

I don’t regret reading The Last Star, especially because I enjoyed The Fifth Wave and The Infinite Sea so much. However, I do wish that it was more original. I am going to give The Last Star three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥