Book Review: This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

33876440This Mortal Coil
Author: Emily Suvada
Series: Book 1
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.
That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.
When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race.
Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself?

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

We’re bringing back dystopian thrillers with this tight, action-packed, adventurous read! This Mortal Coil follows the first-person, present-tense POV of Catarina Agatta, a talented genetic hacker who can manipulate DNA the way coders manipulate data. The author takes a lot of the beginning to introduce the world (quite an info-dump that makes it drag a bit), and takes us on a road trip adventure to finding the cure of a contagious virus that’s ready to wipe out the human civilization. The science is super interesting in This Mortal Coil and Suvada does go rather in-depth. Nonetheless, the characters are constantly on the move through each twist (although I did find it a bit predictable since I’ve read so many similar dystopians). Continue reading

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ARC Review: Lifel1k3 by Jay Kristoff

29456569Lifelike
Author: Jay Kristoff
Series: Lifelike #1
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Everything about LIFELIKE’s synopsis just called to me. I love the sound of a girl with a mysterious past and the ethical struggles of artificial intelligence and androids. I think this struggle is very related to today as well, especially as the robotics industry is advancing every day. Kristoff explores these concepts through the rough roads of a land ravaged by both natural and artificially-made disasters. Told from the main perspective of Eve, LIFELIKE follows her journey to save her grandfather and, in doing so, also discover the truths of her past.

“Grandpa said it’s always better to be shot at for who you are than hugged for who you aren’t. Most days in Dregs, someone was bound to be shooting at you, anyway.”

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ARC Review: Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron

35880579Out of the Blue
Author: Sophie Cameron
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Publisher: Roaring Books Press
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

When otherworldly beings start falling from the sky, it seems like the end of days are near―but for one girl, it’s just the beginning of an adventure that will change her life.

Jaya’s life has completely fallen apart. Her mother is dead, her dad is on an obsessive wild goose chase, and mysterious winged beings are falling from the sky. For the past nine months, none of the them have survived the plummet to Earth, but when a female being lands near Jaya―and is still alive―she doesn’t call the authorities. She hides the being and tries to nurse her back to health.

Set against the backdrop of a society trying to come to grips with the possibility of a world beyond, Out of the Blue is the story of how one unexpected turn of events can put you on a path toward healing.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Out of the Blue is a pretty underrated dystopian-like, stand-alone novel! It follows the narrative of Jaya, a biracial girl who recently lost her mother and is dealing with the aftermath, as well as the sudden appearance of “Beings,” – or angels – that have started falling out of the sky. Although this book was on the short side, it was still a beautifully-written story about love and loss, trust and hope. The character relationships were wonderfully explored, although I wish there was a bit more, if only because we only get to see them for a short time. Nonetheless, I would recommend this story for YA contemporary readers who are here for tremendous character growth and loving relationships! Continue reading

Book Review: Not Your Sidekick by CB Lee (Sidekick Squad #1) + Fan Art!

29904219Not Your Sidekick
Author: CB Lee
Series: Sidekick Squad #1
Release Date: September 8, 2016
Publisher: Duet Books
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

This was one super cute, super extraordinary book about a group of teens who live in a futuristic setting where superheroes run rampant, saving the day from supervillains. Although the writing seemed a bit juvenile at times, I thought of this as a positive – that means younger readers can also delight in this wonderful, respectful, and lovely read with #ownvoices representation. I loved going through the heads of each of the characters, and overall it was just a fast read with plenty of action and fun times to keep a reader going. Continue reading

Book Review: The Flame Never Dies by Rachel Vincent

The Flame Never Dies
Author: Rachel Vincent
Series: The Stars Never Rise #2
Release Date: August 16, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

One spark will rise.

Nina Kane was born to be an exorcist. And since uncovering the horrifying truth—that the war against demons is far from over—seventeen-year-old Nina and her pregnant younger sister, Mellie, have been on the run, incinerating the remains of the demon horde as they go.

In the badlands, Nina, Mellie, and Finn, the fugitive and rogue exorcist who saved her life, find allies in a group of freedom fighters. They also face a new threat: Pandemonia, a city full of demons. But this fresh new hell is the least of Nina’s worries. The well of souls ran dry more than a century ago, drained by the demons secretly living among humans, and without a donor soul, Mellie’s child will die within hours of its birth.

Nina isn’t about to let that happen…even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

The Anathema crew is back in business in this fun, action-packed sequel to The Stars Never Rise (review here)! Although this sequel didn’t offer the new outlook that the first book held when introducing the dangerous and dark world, we also learn interesting things about the characters we already know about, as well as meet new ones (while saying goodbye to old ones). Vincent is never afraid to drag the story to darker depths, yet still carry the light of hope that the characters must have to survive such a morbid atmosphere. While the first half of the book was a bit mundane for me, I got really into the story by the second half after all the pieces of the plot was laid out. The second half definitely had more action as well, which was a plus.

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ARC Review: Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley

Fate of Flames
Author: Sarah Raughley
Series: Effigies #1
Release Date: November 22, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Four girls with the power to control the elements and save the world from a terrible evil must come together in the first epic novel in a brand-new series.When Phantoms—massive beasts made from nightmares and darkness—suddenly appeared and began terrorizing the world, four girls, the Effigies, each gained a unique power to control one of the classical elements: earth, air, fire, and water. Since then, four girls across the world have continually fought against the Phantoms, fulfilling their cosmic duty. And when one Effigy dies, another girl gains her power as a replacement.But now, with technologies in place to protect the world’s major cities from Phantom attacks, the Effigies have stopped defending humanity and, instead, have become international celebrities, with their heroic feats ranked, televised, and talked about in online fandoms.

Until the day that New York City’s protection against the Phantoms fails, a man seems to be able to control them by sheer force of will, and Maia, a high school student, unexpectedly becomes the Fire Effigy.

Now Maia has been thrown into battle with three girls who want nothing to do with one another. But with the first human villain that the girls have ever faced, and an army of Phantoms preparing for attack, there isn’t much time for the Effigies to learn how to work together.

Can the girls take control of their destinies before the world is destroyed forever?

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Imagine an ordinary girl, placed in an extraordinary situation…

Sounds like the perfect event for character growth, new revelations, and exploration of friendships, right? Not so true with this book.

In Fate of Flames, I felt like the author tried to make this book too “cool.” We have a pretty rad premise of girls with elemental powers called Effigies going around saving the world from evil entities called Phantoms. I’ve heard many things referenced to this book, including Sailor Moon. Sailor Moon these girls were not. The combination of a whiny and complacent character who felt like cardboard, a cliche and boring plot, and a lack of world-building made this an extremely frustrating read for me. By page 200, I was pretty much rage-reading the book.

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ARC Review: The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

The Forgetting
Author: Sharon Cameron
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

What isn’t written, isn’t remembered. Even your crimes.

Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person’s memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn’t written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

This book may be titled The Forgetting but it was a really memorable read for me. Sharon Cameron writes the most delightful, refreshing and underrated stories, and I cannot recommend this book enough for people looking for an adventure that’ll broaden their outlook and is full of twists and turns. Nadia is an amazing character who is curious, loyal, thoughtful, and reflective – she’s always listening and observing. What she finds out about Canaan, the place she lives in, will change the world forever.

“Your books are your memories, who you are.”

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Book Review: Withering Rose by Kaitlyn Davis (Once Upon A Curse #2)

26805518Withering Rose
Author: Kaitlyn Davis
Series: Once Upon A Curse #2
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Independent
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis:

What if Beauty was cursed, and the Beast was the only one who could save her? Don’t miss WITHERING ROSE, a dystopian romance from bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis that reimagines the classic fairy tale of Beauty & The Beast.

“As the heat finally disappeared, I felt the bloom blossom in the very core of my soul, a rose just like my name–a ticking clock hidden behind a façade of beauty. From that moment on, my life would become a countdown, and all I could do was wait and watch as the petals of time slowly started to fall.”

Omorose Bouchene has a secret–magic. There’s only one problem. At the age of seven, an earthquake struck, catapulting her into a new world. A land made of skyscrapers and cell phones. Fast cars and fluorescent lights. A land where magic isn’t supposed to exist and anyone who wields it is the enemy.

But after ten years of hiding, she’s desperate to find a place where she can be free. Because all magic comes with a curse, and her curse is time–every ounce of power she uses strips days off of her life. The clock is winding down, and the only option left is to escape to the realm of the Beast. But the king of monsters isn’t what he seems. And the more Omorose opens her heart, the more she comes to realize that the only person she may need to fear is herself.

*This is the second book in Once Upon A Curse, a series of interconnected stand-alone novels all set in the same fantasy universe.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I thought this was a nice sequel to the series that features fairy tale retellings, all interconnected in a way. This time, we’re looking at a Beauty and the Beast retelling (which is my favorite kind, to be honest). I didn’t like it quite as much as the first book, but enjoyed it nonetheless. Withering Rose is a quick read that combines the fantastical and real world in the same dimension after an earthquake that brought them together. The main character, Omorose, used to be a princess in the fantasy dimension that has magic. But in order to survive in the earth dimension (our world, which doesn’t have magic), she has to hide her magical abilities.

“Ten years ago, on the day of the earthquake, my father and I and our two guards were thrown into a foreign world we’ve been unable to escape. Earth. A place with no magic.”

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Sharon Cameron – Rook

23399192Rook
Author: Sharon Cameron
Release Date: April 28, 2015

Synopsis:
History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.

Imagine a future where we go back in time. Where technology is banned because of the “dangers” it possess, so essentially we’re living in the time of the Middle Ages – even though it’s way past the twentieth century. I mean, history does tend to repeat itself, right? That’s the setting in Rook by Sharon Cameron, and it’s one that I love.

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Ernest Cline – Ready Player One

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It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.

Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune — and remarkable power — to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved — that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt — among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life — and love — in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

There’s a lot of books that have to deal with a virtual reality, and suffice it to say, Ready Player One is probably one of the most well-written ones out there. After joining the book community on the interwebs, I’ve seen this book almost everywhere with such praise. So I finally got a copy from BookOutlet and read through it in two days. I even read it at school throughout Spanish, Chemistry, and finally finished it at my AP Euro test. That dedication though.

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