Book Review: Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta

Book Review: Memory of Water by Emmi ItärantaMemory of Water by Emmi Itäranta
Published by Harper Voyager on June 10, 2014
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fantasy, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction
Pages: 272
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
4 Stars
Global warming has changed the world's geography and its politics. Wars are waged over water, and China rules Europe, including the Scandinavian Union, which is occupied by the power state of New Qian. In this far north place, seventeen-year-old Noria Kaitio is learning to become a tea master like her father, a position that holds great responsibility and great secrets. Tea masters alone know the location of hidden water sources, including the natural spring that Noria's father tends, which once provided water for her whole village.

But secrets do not stay hidden forever, and after her father's death the army starts watching their town-and Noria. And as water becomes even scarcer, Noria must choose between safety and striking out, between knowledge and kinship.

Imaginative and engaging, lyrical and poignant, Memory of Water is an indelible novel that portrays a future that is all too possible.

Book Review:

“But I knew that was what the best stories were like: you could believe in them, even if you knew they were just imagination (p. 65).”

For me, the above quote perfectly sums up MEMORY OF WATER. This book feels like it could come true. Sometime in the future, we could live in a world where there’s very little fresh water. In a world where the army controls all sources of water, there’s water rationing, and water crimes result in death.

The progress of MEMORY OF WATER is a lot like water. The book moves along slowly but surely, sometimes circling obstacles, but always coming back to the main story. I will warn you that this book doesn’t have a neat ending or resolution, which is usually something that bugs the heck out of me, because I like concrete endings, but it didn’t bother me here.

I did have some trouble getting into the book when I started it. But once I read a few chapters and got used to Noria’s narration, the author’s writing style, and the world, I didn’t want to put the book down. I finished it in one day, and a week later, I’m still thinking about MEMORY OF WATER.

Noria is a tea master, perhaps an odd profession in a world where water is so scarce. But tea masters preserve traditions, and Noria’s family also guards a secret spring, one of the last free springs. The secret spring lets the author explore lots of questions: Can water be controlled by the army? Should free water be kept a secret when families are suffering, even dying because they don’t have enough water? Should one take the easy way out, or stand up for what one believes in?

There’s not a lot of action in MEMORY OF WATER, which is a-okay. The book doesn’t need it. I’m just pointing that out because this book is different (in a good way) from a lot of the popular dystopian/post-apocalyptic YA fiction out there. MEMORY OF WATER is a book to make you think, a book that laps at the edges of your brain as you read. And the writing is just gorgeous, descriptive and evocative without falling into the usual cliches.

There is one thing about MEMORY OF WATER I didn’t like, which made it a 4 star book instead of a 5 star book. In order to explain what that one thing is, I have to do some plot spoiling, so don’t keep reading if you don’t want to know what happens. I will say it relates to worldbuilding, and while the author paints an excellent portrait of the world now, daily life and politics included, she doesn’t go into too much detail of how it became that way.

Otherwise, an amazing debut. Simple in some ways, but so complex in others. A real thought provoking book, putting the speculative in speculative fiction. I will definitely be on the lookout for more from Emmi Itäranta.

 

 

 

Last spoiler warning!

 

 

 

Okay. One of my big peeves is when authors withhold information from the reader. Noria and her best friend discover the truth about how the world changed, but the author does not tell the reader. That information stays a secret between Noria and Sanja, which is a shame, because I really wanted to know what happened. If they hadn’t found out the truth, I wouldn’t have been as disappointed, but they did, and so I was irked over that.

Socialize with the author:

Emmi Itäranta:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Avalon (Avalon #1) by Mindee Arnett

Book Review: Avalon (Avalon #1) by Mindee ArnettAvalon by Mindee Arnett
Series: Avalon #1
Published by Balzer & Bray on January 21, 2014
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 418
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine, Edelweiss
Goodreads
2 Stars
A ragtag group of teenage mercenaries who crew the spaceship Avalon stumble upon a conspiracy that could threaten the entire galaxy in this fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi adventure from author Mindee Arnett.

Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they're damn good at it. Jeth doesn't care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents' ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he'll go to get the freedom he's wanted for so long.

Avalon is the perfect fit for teens new to sci-fi as well as seasoned sci-fi readers looking for more books in the YA space-and a great match for fans of Joss Whedon's cult hit show Firefly.

Book Review:

Over the years, various friends have tried to get me to watch Joss Whedon’s Firefly. However, I’d rather read books than watch TV series. So when I saw AVALON described for fans of Firefly, I thought this would be the book for me.

Unfortunately, I wish I’d skipped reading AVALON and watched Firefly instead.

Jeth leads a crew of teenage starship thieves. Working for one of the biggest crime lords in the galaxy, they steal metatech. Metatech allows other criminals or people who don’t want the attention of the Interstellar Transport Authority to travel across great distances in the blink of an eye. But when they steal a ship with a busted metadrive, Jeth and his crew find themselves in the middle of a very, very big problem.

AVALON just didn’t capture my attention. The beginning and middle were slow. Any time I put the book down, I didn’t feel compelled to pick it back up and find out how it ended. I did persevere, though, and thought the ending had way too much going on compared to the rest of the book. Jeth didn’t interest me, either. He works for the crime lord because his uncle gambled away his parents’ ship, Avalon, and he wants to buy her back. Of course, it’s not so easy as that, but I didn’t feel for Jeth and his predicament.

Ultimately, AVALON just wasn’t exciting for me. It was okay, but not the great YA sci-fi book I thought it would be. This is one series I won’t be continuing.

Socialize with the author:

Mindee Arnett:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell

Book Review: Expiration Day by William Campbell PowellExpiration Day by William Campbell Powell
Published by Tor Teen on April 22, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine, NetGalley
Goodreads
5 Stars
What happens when you turn eighteen and there are no more tomorrows?

It is the year 2049, and humanity is on the brink of extinction….

Tania Deeley has always been told that she’s a rarity: a human child in a world where most children are sophisticated androids manufactured by Oxted Corporation. When a decline in global fertility ensued, it was the creation of these near-perfect human copies called teknoids that helped to prevent the utter collapse of society.

Though she has always been aware of the existence of teknoids, it is not until her first day at The Lady Maud High School for Girls that Tania realizes that her best friend, Siân, may be one. Returning home from the summer holiday, she is shocked by how much Siân has changed. Is it possible that these changes were engineered by Oxted? And if Siân could be a teknoid, how many others in Tania’s life are not real?

Driven by the need to understand what sets teknoids apart from their human counterparts, Tania begins to seek answers. But time is running out. For everyone knows that on their eighteenth “birthdays,” teknoids must be returned to Oxted—never to be heard from again.

Book Review:

EXPIRATION DAY is the YA science fiction book I’ve been looking for. I would actually recommend it for teens and adults alike, since I think it has a wide audience. When I finished the book, I really wished I had someone to talk about it with, since it’s a book that’s stayed in my mind for a couple of weeks.

Essentially, EXPIRATION DAY explores what it means to be human. There’s not any complicated science to understand, which I appreciated, since it can be really easy to get caught up with new technology or a new world and overlook the main issues. Written in diary format, the book tells the story of Tania Deeley, from age eleven to eighteen. Tania lives in a world where very, very few children are born. To help prevent social collapse, Oxted Corporation came up with the genius idea of loaning childless couples robot babies. The robots are practically impossible to distinguish from normal humans, but at eighteen, they are returned to Oxted.

Here’s the thing about EXPIRATION DAY that really got to me, and why I enjoyed it so much. Normally, the kind of stuff Tania does as she’s growing up, from taking a vacation with her parents to figuring out how to date to learning to play the guitar — that doesn’t really interest me. I don’t read a lot of contemporary fiction because I like to venture into new worlds. But because Tania herself questioned what it means to be a human or a robot, I started to think about that too.

Are robots capable of creating original music or poetry? What does it mean to create something? Would a robot’s behavior change if it knew it was a robot? What’s the importance of teenage lust and crushes? Other than the human-like robots, and living in a world changed by war, Tania’s life is pretty normal. So it makes you consider how much influence “normal” human experiences have.

EXPIRATION DAY isn’t packed with action or adventure. I would have liked more worldbuilding, because the world Tania lives in sounded fascinating, but otherwise, there’s nothing I didn’t like about it. As I said at the start of my review, it’s a book that’s stayed in my head, and I know I’ll enjoy rereading it in the future and pondering what it means to be human.

Let’s talk about it:

Do you like your science fiction packed full of new technology/science/new stuff, or easier to comprehend?

Socialize with the author:

William Campbell Powell:
Website

– leeanna

Book Review: Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Super Villain by Richard Roberts

Book Review: Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Super Villain by Richard RobertsPlease Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Super Villain by Richard Roberts
Published by Curiosity Quills Press on February 15, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Super Hero, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
4 Stars
Penelope Akk wants to be a superhero. She's got superhero parents. She's got the ultimate mad science power, filling her life with crazy gadgets even she doesn't understand. She has two super powered best friends. In middle school, the line between good and evil looks clear.

In real life, nothing is that clear. All it takes is one hero's sidekick picking a fight, and Penny and her friends are labeled supervillains. In the process, Penny learns a hard lesson about villainy: She's good at it.

Criminal masterminds, heroes in power armor, bottles of dragon blood, alien war drones, shape shifters and ghosts, no matter what the super powered world throws at her, Penny and her friends come out on top. They have to. If she can keep winning, maybe she can clear her name before her mom and dad find out.

Book Review:

Penny Akk can’t wait for her superpower to show up. With a super genius for a father and a mother who can make villains cry with logic, Penny knows she’s going to be a superhero. She’s just too impatient to wait for her power to come on its own, so she helps it along…

…and ends up becoming a supervillain. Not on purpose — Penny’s always dreamed of being a hero. But once she and her friends Claire and Ray are accidentally labeled supervillains, they decide to go with it. They can always change sides later, when the opportunity comes up, so why shouldn’t they have some fun first?

“Fun” is the perfect word to describe PLEASE DON’T TELL MY PARENTS I’M A SUPER VILLAIN. Reading the book was like taking a romp through my fantasy of being a bad guy and being good at it. I had a really good time reading it, and enjoyed pretty much everything about it.

There’s a lot of good stuff, including:

♥The solid friendship between Penny, Claire, and Ray. Penny follows her friends into trouble, and sometimes they follow her. As the mad scientist, she’s their leader, but she doesn’t hold it over them.

♥The relationship between Penny and her parents. Penny’s dad is a tad absentminded, but what else would you expect from a genius inventor? As retired superheroes, Penny’s parents are fully supportive of Penny getting her power, and they’re present but away just enough for Penny to have plenty of adventures.

♥The creativity/hilarity. I think only a kid supervillain would think of creating a weapon out of candy. And only her sidekick would wear bear pajamas as part of her costume.

♥Penny’s smart. I love a smart girl who’s into science and math, one who likes being a mad scientist. She fesses up when she makes mistakes, but is also a thirteen-year-old who keeps some secrets from her parents. I also liked The Machine, Penny’s first invention. For a mechanical gadget, it sure was cute.

My only complaint with the book is that it is long. By the end of it, I felt as though I had read an entire trilogy instead of just one book. Now, that’s good in a way, because I got lots of detail about Penny’s power, her inventions, the other superheroes/supervillains, and everything did wrap up neatly. But I was wondering when the book would end. The chapters were long, which might have contributed to my feeling of the book being long.

Otherwise, though, it’s FUN! In the laughter of Penny herself: AH HA HA HA HA!

Giveaway:

There’s a Goodreads giveaway: Check it out!

And while you’re at it, make sure you check out the other stops on the publisher’s tour for PLEASE DON’T TELL MY PARENTS I’M A SUPER VILLAIN.

About the author:

author richard robertsRichard Roberts has fit into only one category in his entire life, and that is ‘writer’, but as a writer he’d throw himself out of his own books for being a cliche.

He’s had the classic wandering employment history – degree in entomology, worked in health care, been an administrator and labored for years in the front lines of fast food. He’s had the appropriate really weird jobs, like breeding tarantulas and translating English to English for Japanese television. He wears all black, all the time, is manic-depressive, and has a creepy laugh.

He’s also followed the classic writer’s path, the pink slips, the anthology submissions, the desperate scrounging to learn how an ever-changing system works. He’s been writing from childhood, and had the appropriate horrible relationships that damaged his self-confidence for years. Then out of nowhere Curiosity Quills Press demanded he give them his books, and here he is.

As for what he writes, Richard loves children and the gothic aesthetic. Most everything he writes will involve one or the other, and occasionally both. His fantasy is heavily influenced by folk tales, fairy tales, and mythology, and he likes to make the old new again. In particular, he loves to pull his readers into strange characters with strange lives, and his heroes are rarely heroic.
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Buy links: Amazon | B&N

– leeanna

Book Review: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Book Review: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa MeyerScarlet by Marissa Meyer
Series: Lunar Chronicles #2
Published by Feiwel and Friends on February 5, 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Romance, Science Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 454
Format: eBook
Source: Own
Goodreads
5 Stars
The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth...

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. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. 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.

Book Review:

The second book in the Lunar Chronicles, SCARLET picks up where CINDER left off, continuing Cinder’s story while bringing in a new character, Scarlet. The fairy tale influence for SCARLET is Little Red Riding Hood, but I promise you’ve never seen it done this way.

Marissa Meyer is a superb storyteller. I’ve read CINDER and SCARLET multiple times since each book’s release, and I often mention the Lunar Chronicles as one of my favorite series. The books are such a great combination of fantasy, adventure, creative worldbuilding, brilliant characters, and fairy tale retelling.

At first I was worried to start SCARLET, because I loved Cinder so much and I wanted every book to be all about her, and no one else. But I fell in love with Scarlet too, with her impulsiveness and how she was so determined to rescue her grandmother. Wolf was like a whipped puppy, and while I’m normally meh on male characters, I couldn’t help but like him. I like pretty much every character in this series, because they all have personalities. They’re all real. I’m a character-driven reader, so I couldn’t get enough.

After escaping prison, Cinder and a fellow convict go to France in search of information about her past. At the same time, Scarlet is trying to find her kidnapped grandmother. I’m making this sound so much more boring than it really is — SCARLET is full of action and adventure, near misses and escapes. What I really want to say about the different plots is that Cinder and Scarlet’s stories mesh seamlessly. Although I had originally wanted the series to be all Cinder, now I can’t imagine it without Scarlet, and Wolf, and Captain Thorne… and I’m sure I’ll keep saying that with every new book and new characters.

Socialize with the author:

Marissa Meyer:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Clan by Realm Lovejoy

Book Review: Clan by Realm LovejoyClan by Realm Lovejoy
Published by Self-Published on November 12, 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 350
Format: eARC
Source: Blog Tour
Goodreads
4 Stars
Clans are Unity.

No variation. No deviation.

On Clades, to be a Clan is to be an exact copy.
A perfect society cloning themselves to survive, even as the zombielike Frags threaten to overrun them on an unforgiving planet.

Clan 1672 (privately known as Twain) was never supposed to survive the Incubation Tank.
But he did. Illegally.
He is different from the other Clans.

A secret that could destroy him.

Welcome to my stop on the book tour for CLAN by Realm Lovejoy. The tour is hosted by YA Bound Book tours and you can visit the rest of the stops here. Read on for my review and a tour-wide giveaway.

Book Review:

CLAN is an unusual young adult book. Unusual in a good, unique way, that is. Instead of focusing on relationships or adventure or the like, CLAN is a book that will make you think.

On one level, it’s the story of a young clone trying to find his place in a society that values unity. No deviations of behavior are accepted, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, for Twain to fit in. For Twain is unlike the other Clan. His sponsor has never allowed him to spend time with the other Clan of his batch, or even to go outside. Lonely and confused, Twain just wants to fit in. To be Clan.

But when Twain finally gets his chance to be with the others, it comes with a heavy price. He and his sponsor face execution if he cannot fit in. His blue eyes and long hair stand out amongst a sea of brown eyes and crew cuts. There’s one other big difference, but I’ll let you discover it for yourself. I will say I definitely didn’t see it coming.

On another level, CLAN questions what it means to be a clone, and what it means to be human. Are clones identical to the nth degree? Theoretically they should be, right? Because they all come from the same genetic source. But are they really? And why does discrimination still exist when everyone is identical? How far should science go in the effort of trying to save something?

At first, I was a little wary of CLAN. The beginning was slow, and I wondered just where the story was going. But once it got going … I didn’t want to stop reading. The last fourth or so of the book flew by. The author continually surprised me with plot twists and story revelations. I didn’t expect a lot of what happened, and I always enjoy when I can’t predict where a book will go. For example: how do you find a murderer when everyone has the same fingerprints? Yeeeeah. Good question, isn’t it? And if everyone is supposed to look and act the exact same, how do you know for sure if Clan 1400 is really Clan 1400?

I’d recommend CLAN for readers who like thought-provoking books and science fiction. The book is self-published, but well-done. And lastly, if you read the ebook version, make sure you check out the author’s website, since she has drawn several illustrations for the book.

clan movie poster

Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*giveaway is tour-wide

About the author:

author of clan: realm lovejoyRealm Lovejoy is a writer and an artist. She was raised in Washington State and the alps of Nagano, Japan. Her father is a Japanese ex-monk and her mother an English teacher from Rhode Island. Her art is influenced by both the East and the West.

Realm aspires to tell stories through her writing and art.

She is agented by Jessica Regel.

Her upcoming YA sci-fi novel is titled CLAN, due 2013.

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Buy link: Amazon

– leeanna

Book Review: Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3) by Veronica Rossi

Book Review: Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3) by Veronica RossiInto the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky #3
Published by HarperCollins on January 28, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
5 Stars
Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it's time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won't even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

Book Review:

I don’t know about you, but I’m always a bit scared to read the end of a trilogy that I love. The first two books (book review of UNDER THE NEVER SKY; book review of THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT), were both favorites of mine, and I couldn’t help but be nervous about the finale. Would INTO THE STILL BLUE wrap up Aria’s and Perry’s stories in a good way? Would finding the Still Blue be the salvation everyone needs it to be?

I shouldn’t have worried: from the moment I started INTO THE STILL BLUE, I didn’t want to put it down. At the same time, I wanted to drag the book out because I didn’t want my time with Aria, Perry, Roar, and the rest of the Tides to end. Throughout the series, Veronica Rossi excelled at creating characters I cared about, and writing a story I was fully engrossed in reading. Both of those — great characters, captivating story — were present in INTO THE STILL BLUE.

First: There’s so much action in this book! I did not expect so much to happen, and I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough to see what was coming next. As I’m sure you can guess, the process of finding and going to the Still Blue is anything but easy. With three very different groups of people needing the safety of the Still Blue as the Aether storms ramp up in intensity and destructiveness, I honestly wasn’t sure how everyone would get there. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying that not everyone does, but you might be surprised by who makes it. I certainly was.

Second: Aria and Perry. The relationship they have is one of my favorite ones. As a rule, I’m pretty critical of relationships in YA books, because all too often they’re based on instant attraction and the characters fall “in love” immediately. Not these two. If you remember the beginning of UNDER THE NEVER SKY, they hated each other and only worked together reluctantly to accomplish their goals. Now they’re a firm couple, despite lots of ups and downs, and trying to do the best for each other. Their relationship is sweet yet angsty.

Third: Aria and Roar. I mentioned how much I liked their friendship in THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT, and it deserves another mention in INTO THE STILL BLUE. They have an amazing friendship. Roar is still grieving over the loss of Liv, and Aria tries her best to help both him and Perry accept it. And whenever bad things happen in this book, Roar is likewise there for Aria. I cannot express how happy I am that there’s no love triangle in these books, and that the author developed the firm friendship between Aria and Roar.

Fourth: The rest of the characters! As I said, the author made me FEEL for all her characters, whether they be good or bad. I cared about such characters as Talon, Perry’s brother. And Soren, a Dweller and sort of jerk (if you remember him from the first book). He’s one I was really surprised to like in the end. I was curious about others, such as Sable, leader of the Horns, and Cinder, the boy who is the key to finding the Still Blue. Like the others, Cinder’s come a long way from UNDER THE NEVER SKY.

Overall, INTO THE STILL BLUE made me a very happy reader. I liked 99% of the book, and even the one, tiny part I wasn’t so fond of didn’t detract from my enjoyment in any way. I’m talking about the last chapter, which I personally feel could have been left off. But that’s just my opinion. Everything else was champ, to put it in Perry’s voice. I think fans of the series will be as pleased as I am with the conclusion of such a great story.

Socialize with the author:

Veronica Rossi:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2) by Veronica Rossi

Book Review: Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2) by Veronica RossiThrough the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky #2
Published by HarperCollins on January 8, 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 341
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Goodreads
5 Stars
It's been months since Aria learned of her mother's death.

Months since Perry became Blood Lord of the Tides, and months since Aria last saw him.

Now Aria and Perry are about to be reunited. It's a moment they've been longing for with countless expectations. And it's a moment that lives up to all of them. At least, at first.

Then it slips away. The Tides don't take kindly to former Dwellers like Aria. And the tribe is swirling out of Perry's control. With the Aether storms worsening every day, the only remaining hope for peace and safety is the Still Blue. But does this haven truly exist?

Threatened by false friends and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

Book Review:

I liked UNDER THE NEVER SKY a lot (see my book review of UNDER THE NEVER SKY). So much that I read it twice in a year. Because I liked the first book of the series so much, I was a bit nervous to read THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT. Second books in trilogies have a habit of letting me down, but this book blew me away even more than the first!

I had no idea what was going to happen in THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT, and I LOVED that! The author continually surprised me with each twist and turn in Aria’s and Perry’s stories. For much of the book, Aria and Perry are separated, each doing their own thing. While I missed them together, it was a good opportunity to see each of them in their elements.

Aria has changed so much from the first book, where she started off as a bit whiny and weak. She’s strong, capable, independent, and ready to do what’s needed, even when it hurts her. Perry spends most of his time taking care of his tribe, and I liked seeing how a Blood Lord acted, and all the concerns and responsibilities Perry had. I cared about both of them, as well as other characters such as Roar, Cinder, and Marron. Veronica Rossi creates awesome characters!

I have to give Roar, Perry and Aria’s friend, a shout out because he was one of the nicest guys ever, and some bad, bad stuff happens to him. I wanted to give him a huge hug. Roar was one of the first Outsiders to accept Aria, and their friendship was a thing of beauty. Really. I liked that the author showed how the love Aria feels for Roar is different than her romantic love for Perry.

I was hooked on every word of THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT. I didn’t want to put it down, and in fact, I actually want to reread it because I’m sure I missed some little details in my haste to find out what happened. If you haven’t started this series yet, you are missing out! It’s a great combination of post-apocalypse, light science fiction, and fantasy, and even some dystopian elements. I even like the romance between Perry and Aria, because it feels REAL. They both make hard decisions about their relationship, including spending time apart. Ultimately they reunite, and realize they are stronger together than they are apart. I dunno. They just gave me such good feelings.

And the ending? OH EM GEE the ending! Once you finish THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT, I guarantee you’ll want to get your hands on the last book of the trilogy, INTO THE STILL BLUE. I have no clue how everything will tie together, and I am beyond excited about that.

Socialize with the author:

Veronica Rossi:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Arclight (Arclight #1) by Josin L. McQuein

Book Review: Arclight (Arclight #1) by Josin L. McQueinArclight by Josin L. McQuein
Series: Arclight #1
Published by Greenwillow Books on April 23, 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
1 Stars
No one crosses the wall of light . . . except for one girl who doesn’t remember who she is, where she came from, or how she survived. A harrowing, powerful debut thriller about finding yourself and protecting your future—no matter how short and uncertain it may be.

The Arclight is the last defense. The Fade can’t get in. Outside the Arclight’s border of high-powered beams is the Dark. And between the Light and the Dark is the Grey, a narrow, barren no-man’s-land. That’s where the rescue team finds Marina, a lone teenage girl with no memory of the horrors she faced or the family she lost. Marina is the only person who has ever survived an encounter with the Fade. She’s the first hope humanity has had in generations, but she could also be the catalyst for their final destruction. Because the Fade will stop at nothing to get her back. Marina knows it. Tobin, who’s determined to take his revenge on the Fade, knows it. Anne-Marie, who just wishes it were all over, knows it.

When one of the Fade infiltrates the Arclight and Marina recognizes it, she will begin to unlock secrets she didn’t even know she had. Who will Marina become? Who can she never be again?

Book Review:

The first time I tried to read ARCLIGHT, I got about 100 pages in before setting it down for a month. The second time I managed to finish ARCLIGHT, but I had to make myself keep reading. I wanted to like the book. I really did. But when I kept getting distracted by bad reality TV instead of getting sucked into the book, it wasn’t a good sign.

ARCLIGHT is based off a cool idea. Humans have nearly been eradicated, wiped out by the Fade. The only safe place left is the Arclight, where the remnants of civilization live, protected by massive lights that create a barrier against the Fade and the Dark. Light is the only thing that can hurt the Fade. Found outside, Marina is the first evidence that there are humans left, other than the ones in the Arclight. But Marina doesn’t remember *anything* about where she came from, her past, or even who she is.

I’ll admit it: I was confused the majority of the time while reading ARCLIGHT. I had no idea why the Fade were so scary, or even a good mental picture of what they looked like. The book is from Marina’s point of view, which added to my confusion because Marina spends a lot of time lost and confused. I ended up skimming whole pages because there was nothing but her thoughts. And then there just didn’t seem to be much of a story.

I also didn’t have any sense of urgency or danger while reading. When the Fade breach the Arclight, I never felt like the characters were in danger of being attacked or really harmed. There’s a scene where Marina BURNS Fade poison from a guy’s back, but it was like reading a grocery list. I had that feeling about Marina in general. I never connected with or cared about her. Because ARCLIGHT is driven by Marina’s discoveries about who she is, finding her so dull just made the book even more boring for me.

As I said above, I did push through to the end of ARCLIGHT on my second attempt reading it. Sometimes an ending can redeem an otherwise meh book, but in this case, it didn’t. The big reveals were pretty easy to guess, and I kept putting the book down when I had only pages left.

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Josin L. McQuein:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Altered (Crewel World #2) by Gennifer Albin

Book Review: Altered (Crewel World #2) by Gennifer AlbinAltered by Gennifer Albin
Series: Crewel World #2
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) on October 29, 2013
Genres: Alternate Universe, Dystopian, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Goodreads
4 Stars
Life. Possibility. Choice.
All taken from Adelice by the Guild—until she took them back.

But amid the splendid ruins of Earth, Adelice discovers how dangerous freedom can be. Hunted by soulless Remnants sent by Cormac Patton and the Guild, Adelice finds a world that’s far from deserted. Although allies are easy to find on Earth, knowing who to trust isn’t. Because everyone has secrets, especially those Adelice loves most. Secrets they would kill to protect. Secrets that will redefine each of them. Torn between two brothers and two worlds, Adelice must choose what to fight for.

In this thrilling sequel to Crewel, Adelice is about to learn how tangled up her past and future really are. Her parents ran to protect her, but nothing can save her from her destiny, and once she uncovers the truth, it will change everything.

My Review:
Last year, I was very intrigued by CREWEL, the first book in the Crewel World trilogy. The unique premise, dystopian society, and inventive world building had me eager to get my hands on the book. Unfortunately, I wasn’t blown away by it, but I did like it enough to keep my eyes out for ALTERED.

I am glad I did, because I liked ALTERED more than CREWEL. Usually the middle book in a trilogy is one of my least favorite, but I read ALTERED almost straight through. One of the biggest reasons I liked it? So. Much. Happens.

ALTERED picks up right after the end of CREWEL, without much recap of what happened in book one. That’s both good and bad — good because chapters of information dumps are boring, and bad because it’s been over a year since I read CREWEL, and I couldn’t remember a lot of it. I probably missed some connections and fine details, but for the most part, I was okay.

I always strive to not spoil the plot of a book, because that’s no fun. That’s going to make my review of ALTERED short, because I can’t say very much at all without giving something away. So, what’s safe to mention? ALTERED dives into the science of Arras and Earth, Adelice learns more about her gifts, and we meet an all new cast of interesting characters. ALTERED takes place entirely on Earth, and there’s more history of how and why Arras came to be. Never in a MILLION years did I see it all come together the way it did, so bonus points there. There are twists, and then there are TWISTS, and this book has TWISTS.

I know the above paragraph is probably super confusing, but it’s representative of my inner monologue while reading the book. As I said above, I liked ALTERED more than CREWEL, and will definitely be looking forward to the last book in the trilogy. I also want to say I like how there are so many genres in this series, from fantasy to science fiction to alternate history and beyond. The author does a pretty good job of blending everything together.

So, what didn’t I like?

I’m not a love-triangle person. Never was, never will be. Adelice spends a fair amount of time figuring out her relationships with brothers Jost and Erik. I really wanted her to focus on the dangers around her instead of worrying about Jost’s or Erik’s feelings.

And while a LOT happens in ALTERED, I still have a ton of unanswered questions. I’m disappointed that I still don’t know how or why Adelice can manipulate the Weave. I don’t know how the Weave affects Earth and Arras, and why it’s there in the first place. All the twists and turns in ALTERED brings up a new crop of questions, and I’m wondering how many will get answered in the last book. Lastly, though there’s a lot of action packed into the book, I still found myself bored at a few points, and wanted Adelice to get up, quit moping over a boy, and do something.

I have to say I’m not a fan of the new covers for the series, although that did not have anything to do with my rating. The swirly, colorful cover for CREWEL was so eye-catching and unique, and I was eager to see what would show up in that same vein for ALTERED. But noooooo. It’s “let’s slap a girl on the cover time.” I guess the new covers DO give a better idea of what the books are about, as there are related elements, such as the hourglass and separated worlds.

Socialize with the author:
Gennifer Albin:
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– leeanna