Review: “Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3)” by Marissa Meyer


13206828Title: “Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3)”

Author: Marissa Meyer

Genre: Fantasy, YA, PNR, AWESOME, Space Opera, Retellings

Publication Date:  February 4, 2014 (Macmillan – North America)

Source: Publisher-provided ARC

Summary: Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

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

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

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

☆: 5/5 stars – Another great installment in this quartet!

Review: You know, guys, I’m starting to see the greater parallels with Sailor Moon (of which Meyer is a great fan) as this quartet progresses. But you know what? I’m entirely okay with that. That little observation aside, I think that the way that “Cress” is put together is going to throw some of the fans of this series off – I know I was at first – but I encourage everyone to hang in there. “Cress” is just as enchanting and amazing as the other books – if anything, more so, and it was fun to see Meyer playing with how she was structuring her storytelling. Just like “Scarlet” doesn’t immediately delve back into the lives of Cinder and co., “Cress” does the same, except with a more extended timeframe. Regardless, “Cress” is AWESOME, and definitely one of my favorites for this year. Definitely on my top ten list for 2014 so far.

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Review: “In the After” by Demitria Lunetta


12157407Title: “In the After”

Author: Demitria Lunetta

Genre: YA contemporary, post-apocalyptic

Publication Date: June 25, 2013 (HarperTeen – North America)

Source: Publisher-provided ARC

Summary: They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you’ve ever seen.
And They won’t stop chasing you…until you are dead.

Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.

After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.

☆: 4/5 – two words, people: zombie aliens.

Review: This book was a lot of fun. “In the After” has everything a paranoid post-apocalyptic/dystopian YA novel should have, plus it has a little bit of space opera mixed in for good measure. The only issue I had with this book is how it completely turns into a different creature in the second half the story, which definitely threw me for a loop. This book will definitely keep you on your toes the whole time, and just when you think you have everything figured out? Think again.

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Review: “Rush” by Eve Silver


13571953Title: “Rush”

Author: Eve Silver

Genre: Space Opera, YA Contemporary, Wibbly-Wobbley-Timey-Wimey stuff

Publication Date: June 11, 2013 (HarperTeen – North America)

Source: Edelweiss Review Copy

Summary: So what’s the game now? This, or the life I used to know?

When Miki Jones is pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game—her carefully controlled life spirals into chaos. In the game, she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures. There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival, and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.

☆: 2/5 stars – an absolutely excellent high concept idea, but terrible execution.

Review: Okay. So, this is a review I really didn’t want to write because of the fact that I absolutely LOVED the concept behind it, but the execution of it was just…not awesome. It was extremely confusing to say the least, and it just made me really sad because fighting aliens, time travel, and questionable existences? All of that is awesome, as was the development of most of the technical elements. Most of them. I wish I could recommend “Rush”, but the ARC I read? It needed at least two more drafts to make things really readable. Hopefully all of that gets worked out by the time it gets pubbed. This review may have some spoilers, so you’ve been warned.

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Review: “Zenn Scarlett” by Christian Schoon


ZennScarlett.143947Title: “Zenn Scarlett”

Author: Christian Schoon

Genre: YA, MG, Sci-Fi, Space Opera, Space Western

Publication Date: May 7, 2013 (Strange Chemistry/Angry Robot – North America)

Source: NetGalley Review Copy

Summary: When you’re studying to be exoveterinarian specializing in exotic, alien life forms, school… is a different kind of animal.

Zenn Scarlett is a resourceful, determined 17-year-old girl working hard to make it through her novice year of exovet training. That means she’s learning to care for alien creatures that are mostly large, generally dangerous and profoundly fascinating. Zenn’s all-important end-of-term tests at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars are coming up, and, she’s feeling confident of acing the exams. But when a series of inexplicable animal escapes and other disturbing events hit the school, Zenn finds herself being blamed for the problems. As if this isn’t enough to deal with, her absent father has abruptly stopped communicating with her; Liam Tucker, a local towner boy, is acting unusually, annoyingly friendly; and, strangest of all: Zenn is worried she’s started sharing the thoughts of the creatures around her. Which is impossible, of course. Nonetheless, she can’t deny what she’s feeling.

Now, with the help of Liam and Hamish, an eight-foot sentient insectoid also training at the clinic, Zenn must learn what’s happened to her father, solve the mystery of who, if anyone, is sabotaging the cloister, and determine if she’s actually sensing the consciousness of her alien patients… or just losing her mind. All without failing her novice year….

☆: 3/5 stars – a solid debut for Schoon, but could have been a little more clear on a whole bunch of things.

Review: So, “Zenn Scarlett”. I’m still not entirely how to shelve this book in terms of genre – is it YA, or MG? Or is it riding the fine line between them? While this was a really solid debut for Schoon, I think it needed at least one or two more edits before getting to the ARC stage of things because a lot of things needed clarification. While I’m happy this book is yet another we can add to the space western canon within MG/YA, at the same time, I just wish it’d been clearer. Nevertheless, I did have fun with “Zenn Scarlett”, and I think other readers will too.

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Review: “Icons” by Margaret Stohl


11861715Title: “Icons”

Author: Margaret Stohl

Genre: YA, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, PNR

Publication Date: May 7, 2013 (LBFYR – North America)

Source: NetGalley Review Copy

Summary: Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol’s family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn’t know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside — safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can’t avoid.

She’s different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador’s privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn’t a coincidence. It’s a conspiracy.

Within the Icon’s reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions — which they’ve always thought to be their greatest weaknesses — may actually be their greatest strengths.

☆: 4.5/5 stars – a really great new series from a great author!

Review: Wow. Where to begin? This book is pretty short at a shade under 300 pages, but it packs a huge punch. I didn’t think that Stohl was going to go into the space opera area of YA (a sub-genre that badly needs boosting), but I’m glad she did, because she’s done right by it. There’s a lot going on in this first book in the “Icons” series, and now I’m pretty much slavering for book two. If you’re looking for an exciting sci-fi adventure that still stays within the familiar elegance of Stohl’s prose, definitely be sure to give “Icons” a try!

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Review: “When We Wake” by Karen Healey


11544476Title: “When We Wake”

Author: Karen Healey

Genre: YA, dystopian, sci-fi, mystery

Publication Date: March 5, 2013 (LBFYR – North America)

Source: NetGalley Review Copy

Summary: My name is Tegan Oglietti, and on the last day of my first lifetime, I was so, so happy.

Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027–she’s happiest when playing the guitar, she’s falling in love for the first time, and she’s joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice.
But on what should have been the best day of Tegan’s life, she dies–and wakes up a hundred years in the future, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened. Tegan is the first government guinea pig to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived, which makes her an instant celebrity–even though all she wants to do is try to rebuild some semblance of a normal life. But the future isn’t all she hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better future?

☆: 3/5 stars – a solid dystopian novel, but I just expected more.

Review: I really liked the premise behind this one, guys, and it’s a solid dystopian read, but I just kind of expected more out of it and didn’t really felt like it could have delivered as much as it could have. There’s nothing worse than wasted potential, and I hope by the time this gets pubbed, there will have been one more pass over it. I really liked “When We Wake”, but I do feel that it could have been so much more. But it’s definitely a great book to introduce to younger YA readers who are just getting their feet wet in the dystopian pool.

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