Sanctuary by Caryn Lix Review | Nonstop Action in this Alien-Infested Scifi

32855090Sanctury
Author: Caryn Lix
Series: Book 1
Release Date: July 24, 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Alien meets Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds in this thrilling debut novel about prison-guard-in-training, Kenzie, who is taken hostage by the superpowered criminal teens of the Sanctuary space station—only to have to band together with them when the station is attacked by mysterious creatures.

Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.

As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.

But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.

At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.

As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I separate Sanctuary into two acts, and I’ll explore my thoughts on the story separating these two halves of the book. I really enjoyed the fast-paced, blood-rushing action, but the thing about large amounts of action (which is definitely fun and exciting) is that it sacrifices relationship exploration, characterization, and world/story-building to make up for everything else that’s going on. Because of this, I think certain interesting aspects of the story weren’t drawn to their fullest potential. Despite that, sci-fi lovers who are itching for an Alien-like story of survival will definitely devour this one. I certainly did!

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Book Review: Renegades by Marissa Meyer (Renegades #1)

28421168Renegades
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: Renegades #1
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Superhero fans will definitely recognize Renegades as a book that calls to them. It’s a classic superhero book with villains, secret identities, and saving humanity. While Nova may be considered an anti-hero, I didn’t really think so. Her character isn’t morally grey as some (such as Adelina from The Young Elites for example.) She’s vindictive, for sure, but she also believes in a just world – and in the end, that’s what the Renegades are fighting for too. The whole 500+ page book is just one adventure after another, likening it to an episodic kind of vibe (very similar to Flash, the DC show). It was a fun, light sci-fi that explores what society really needs in a world of superheroes.

“Don’t worry about helping yourselves. You’ve got enough on your plate, what with all the hiding and moping you’ve been doing lately. You take a day off. We’re superheroes. We’ve got this.
Hope called themselves the Renegades.”

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ARC Review: Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner (Unearthed #1)

25446297Unearthed
Authors: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Series: Unearthed #1
Release Date: January 8, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying’s advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.

For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study… as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don’t loot everything first. Mia and Jules’ different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.

In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race’s secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race…

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Unearthed brings an interesting concept to life: looking back at history in the future. While it takes place in a sci-fi setting where humans have found access to Gaia, a planet that seems almost habitable for our species, much of the narrative is done thinking about the past. It pairs up an unlikely duo – an archaeologist and a scavenger – in a nonstop adventure that continues from beginning to end of the book. Readers looking for action and adventure, get on this story. And readers who want something for substantial, perhaps save this one for a day when you want something light. Continue reading

ARC Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

29385546Warcross
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Book 1
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.
Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

YA books with high video game content? Sign me up anytime, anywhere! Warcross promises an extremely fun adventure as we follow the first person POV of Emika Chen, a Chinese-American gamer who has a lot of debt under her name but magnificent coding skills. She stays alive by being a bounty hunter for gamblers of Warcross, the ubiquitous video game that the world relies on. When a surprising glitch she creates captures the eyes of the media and the creator of Warcross, Hideo Tanaka, she finds herself a new bounty job from the creator himself: find out who’s trying to ruin the tournaments. 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

Be On The Lookout! | Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh

be-on-the-lookout

Be On the Lookout! is a feature highlighting magnificent books that I’m trying to convince people to preorder, add to their TBR, or just be on the lookout for. It’s mainly a way for me to fangirl about the merits of a book outside a review, and hopefully make more readers aware of books that are not to be missed!

I’m really happy to be here for a shout out of an awesome #OwnVoices book for Korean representation: Rebel Seoul by Axie Oh! It’s action-packed from beginning to end, with amazing characters that you’ll just grow to love and awesome robots that are both daunting as they are amazing. I literally can’t shout enough of my love for this book to the sky! Pacific Rim + Kdramas = Rebel Soul, which comes out September 15, 2017.

BONUS: If you preorder the book, you get a postcard (with REALLY REALLY COOL art of the characters) and get entered in a giveaway for character-themed packages! Trust me, these packages are super cool. Face masks, Gundam suits (omg), and all sorts of awesome tidbits that the author got from Korea.

Find the details on the Axie’s website here!

34931621After a great war, the East Pacific is in ruins. In brutal Neo Seoul, where status comes from success in combat, ex-gang member Lee Jaewon is a talented pilot rising in the ranks of the academy. Abandoned as a kid in the slums of Old Seoul by his rebel father, Jaewon desires only to escape his past and prove himself a loyal soldier of the Neo State.

When Jaewon is recruited into the most lucrative weapons development division in Neo Seoul, he is eager to claim his best shot at military glory. But the mission becomes more complicated when he meets Tera, a test subject in the government’s supersoldier project. Tera was trained for one purpose: to pilot one of the lethal God Machines, massive robots for a never-ending war.

With secret orders to report on Tera, Jaewon becomes Tera’s partner, earning her reluctant respect. But as respect turns to love, Jaewon begins to question his loyalty to an oppressive regime that creates weapons out of humans. As the project prepares to go public amidst rumors of a rebellion, Jaewon must decide where he stands—as a soldier of the Neo State, or a rebel of the people.

Pacific Rim meets Korean action dramas in this mind-blowing, New Visions Award-winning science fiction debut.

 

Rebel Seoul BOTL

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ARC Review: Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener

Amid Stars and Darkness
Author: Chani Lynn Feener
Series: Book 1
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
If anyone had ever asked Delaney Grace what her plans were after high school, she certainly wouldn’t have answered, “getting kidnapped”. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens. As if that wasn’t enough, turns out the man kidnapping her isn’t a local. He’s from another planet. In a twisted case of mistaken identity, Delaney is taken to a foreign world where she’s forced to pretend to be an alien princess. If she can pull it off long enough for the real princess to be found, she’ll get to go home, if she doesn’t, she risks enslaving the entire human race. Tricking the princess’s betrothed, Trystan, isn’t going to be easy, but not falling for Ruckus, her accidental kidnapper, might be an even bigger feat. Especially when the three of them get caught up in a deadly game of truth or dare. Will Delaney be able to pull off the acting job of a lifetime, or will she ultimately be the cause of a massive war? One the human race most likely won’t survive.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

While this book was a fun space adventure, it was also very light and quick to read. There is minimal world-building, and all the information a reader needs to know is pretty much told through dialogue within the first hundred pages. While setting and plot-wise, Amid Stars and Darkness doesn’t really come out as a surprise, I really enjoyed watching the heroine’s reactions and antics. She’s really down-to-earth, likable, and easy to relate to. Couple that with a sweet dose of a healthy romance and you get a very light scifi read that’s perfect for mindless reading for the slow days. Continue reading

ARC Review: Want by Cindy Pon

29387853Want
Author: Cindy Pon
Series: Book 1
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Signed/Personalized at the local indie Mysterious Galaxy

Synopsis:
Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart?

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Thank you Simon & Schuster for the review copy!

When I read the last page of this book, I was practically stunned and basically laid on my bed, contemplating it for a solid 10 minutes before opening this review. Probably THE Young Adult Science Fiction read of the year, Want left me just wanting more. More of the immersive and vivid futuristic Taiwan setting, more of the diverse band of misfits who come together to fight against the system, more of the forbidden love romance that is as light as it is deceptive. Want was captivating from beginning to end, capturing a heist with Asian characters that is utterly unforgettable. I urge science fiction lovers and readers looking for an exhilarating adventure to hurry up and put this on their TBR! 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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