Book Review: Beautiful Broken Hearts by Kami Garcia

33158532Beautiful Broken Hearts
Author: Kami Garcia
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Imprint
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times–bestselling author Kami Garcia comes a red-hot romance that will break your heart and put it back together again.

Her heart has to break before it can open.

When star soccer player Peyton Rios receives an offer from her first-choice college, senior year starts off exactly as planned. But when Peyton uncovers her boyfriend’s dark secret, she confronts him—and finds herself falling down a flight of stairs. Peyton’s knee—and maybe her dream of going pro—is shattered. Everyone is talking: Was she pushed, or did she fall? Peyton knows the truth, even if no one believes her.

He has to let someone in before it’s too late.

With her future on the line, Peyton goes to stay with her uncle in a small Tennessee town to focus on her recovery. Dating is the last thing on her mind—until she meets sweet, sexy Owen Law.

But Peyton doesn’t trust her heart, especially when she senses that Owen is hiding something. When their secrets are finally exposed, Peyton has to decide if love is worth fighting for.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

I enjoyed Kami Garcia’s previous contemporary, The Lovely Reckless, and this one was no different. Beautiful Broken Hearts follow the story of Peyton Rios, a biracial (half-Cuban, half-white) and talented soccer player whose dreams of going to UNC with a scholarship is wiped away after one incident with her abusive boyfriend. In the author’s note, Garcia wrote about how she was in a similar situation in her life, and discussed the importance of seeking out for help when needed (including resources such as Break the Cycle and the National Domestic Violence Hotline). I think this book was especially important in highlighting abusive/manipulative relationships, and above all, the fact that sometimes you need to just put yourself first, before anything – or anyone – else.

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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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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

Book Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (The Folk of Air #1)

26032825The Cruel Prince
Author: Holly Black
Series: The Folk of Air #1
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:
Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review
So the most important question for this book to me is… hype – worth it or nah? For me, the answer is in the middle. There are some parts I liked about The Cruel Prince (namely, the main character), and other parts that fell very flat with me. This book follows the tangled politics and court intrigue of the High Court of Faerie and the human girl that resides there and is ready to rise up in the ranks. There is a bit of a romance (honestly, hardly anything and I’m disappointed that people place so much on it), an intriguing father-daughter relationship, and sisterhood that pushes past certain boundaries. It’s a pretty large book, but in the end I’d say it’s worth the read. Continue reading

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: Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

30339493Isle of Blood and Stone
Author: Makiia Lucier
Release Date: April 10, 2018
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Synopsis:

Ulises asked, “How can I look at these maps, see this riddle, and do nothing? They are my brothers.”
Elias reached across the table and flicked aside two shells with a fingertip. The map curled into itself. “It’s bound to be a goose chase. You know that?”
“Or a treasure hunt,” Ulises countered, “and you’ve always been good at those.”

Nineteen-year-old Elias is a royal explorer, a skilled mapmaker, and the new king of del Mar’s oldest friend. Soon he will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, an expedition past the Strait of Cain and into uncharted waters. Nothing stands in his way…until a long-ago tragedy creeps back into the light, threatening all he holds dear.

The people of St. John del Mar have never recovered from the loss of their boy princes, kidnapped eighteen years ago, both presumed dead. But when two maps surface, each bearing the same hidden riddle, troubling questions arise. What really happened to the young heirs? And why do the maps appear to be drawn by Lord Antoni, Elias’s father, who vanished on that same fateful day? With the king’s beautiful cousin by his side-whether he wants her there or not-Elias will race to solve the riddle of the princes. He will have to use his wits and guard his back. Because some truths are better left buried…and an unknown enemy stalks his every turn.

One-Way-Or-An-Author-Review

Isle of Blood and Stone comes off to me as one of those quieter YA fantasies that are hidden gems. It’s not fast-paced, nor does it have tons of thrilling action. But the characterizations fuel the story as we follow on an 18-year old mystery that needs to be solved. Despite the sedate pace, I enjoyed the emphasis in the story on maps and following the political intrigue within St. John del Mar. There’s a marked focus on character relationships and heading into danger, as well as fantastical elements that add flavor to the story. I’d recommend Isle of Blood and Stone to fantasy readers who don’t mind less action in favor of characterization and solving mysteries. It’s for sure a deviation from the princes and princesses route that YA fantasies like to take. Continue reading

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