Book Review: Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Hardcover: 374 Pages

Series: Under The Never Sky #1

Publisher: Harper Collins

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Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland – known as The Death Shop – are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild – a savage – and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile – everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky. ”

To be perfectly honest, Under The Never Sky isn’t a bad book, and the rating only reflects my enjoyment while reading, nothing else. Continue reading

ARC Review: Alternity by Mari Mancusi

ebook: 243 Pages

Series: Standalone

Publisher: NLA Digital Liaison Platform LLC

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Imagine waking up in a post-apocalyptic, nightmare world–and being told your whole life is but a dream. Skye Brown thought she was your typical teen–good grades, hot boyfriend, and an afterschool job that pays her to play videogames. But then she started having the dreams.

In her dreams, there is no Earth. Only Terra, a bleak, underground wasteland where people live in squalor and oppression. In her dreams, there is no Skye–only Mariah, a rebel leader fighting against a vile, dystopian regime. And then there’s Dawn, a handsome, but haunted solider who sees her as but an empty shell of the girl he once loved–a betrayer he vows to hate forever, despite what she sees deep in his eyes.

Now, ripped between Dark Siders and club kids, the mundane and the mystic, Skye finds herself in a fight against time–to learn who she really is, where she belongs..and why. The shocking truth will have her questioning her own reality…and her heart.

This novel was originally published in print as Moongazer, back in 2010, which made for some confusing 10 minutes when I discovered two books with the same blurbs. Continue reading

ARC Review: Dearly, Beloved by Lia Habel

Hardcover: 496 Pages

Series: Gone With the Respiration #2

Publisher: Del Rey

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Can the living coexist with the living dead? 

That’s the question that has New Victorian society fiercely divided ever since the mysterious plague known as “The Laz” hit the city of New London and turned thousands into walking corpses. But while some of these zombies are mindless monsters, hungry for human flesh, others can still think, speak, reason, and control their ravenous new appetites.

Just ask Nora Dearly, the young lady of means who was nearly kidnapped by a band of sinister zombies but valiantly rescued by a dashing young man . . . of the dead variety.

Nora and her savior, the young zombie soldier Bram Griswold, fell hopelessly in love. But others feel only fear and loathing for the reanimated dead. Now, as tensions grow between pro- and anti-zombie factions, battle lines are being drawn in the streets. And though Bram is no longer in the New Victorian army, he and his ex-commando zombie comrades are determined to help keep the peace. That means taking a dangerous stand between The Changed, a radical group of sentient zombies fighting for survival, and The Murder, a masked squad of urban guerrillas hellbent on destroying the living dead. But zombies aren’t the only ones in danger: Their living allies are also in The Murder’s crosshairs, and for one vengeful zealot, Nora Dearly is the number one target.

As paranoia, prejudice, and terrorist attacks threaten to plunge the city into full-scale war, Nora’s scientist father and his team continue their desperate race to unlock the secrets of “The Laz” and find a cure. But their efforts may be doomed when a mysterious zombie appears bearing an entirely new strain of the virus—and the nation of New Victoria braces for a new wave of the apocalypse.

Dearly, Departed  is one of those books with very mixed reviews. Some liked it, some really, truly didn’t, mainly because of the zombie kisses thing I mentioned before. I loved it! Naturally, starting this book, I had very high hopes and am sad to say Dearly, Beloved was kinda, sorta a let down. Continue reading

Book Review: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Hardcover: 470 Pages

Series: Gone With the Respiration #1

Publisher: Del Rey

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Love can never die.

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie? 

The year is 2195. The place is New Victoria—a high-tech nation modeled on the manners, mores, and fashions of an antique era. A teenager in high society, Nora Dearly is far more interested in military history and her country’s political unrest than in tea parties and debutante balls. But after her beloved parents die, Nora is left at the mercy of her domineering aunt, a social-climbing spendthrift who has squandered the family fortune and now plans to marry her niece off for money. For Nora, no fate could be more horrible—until she’s nearly kidnapped by an army of walking corpses. 

But fate is just getting started with Nora. Catapulted from her world of drawing-room civility, she’s suddenly gunning down ravenous zombies alongside mysterious black-clad commandos and confronting “The Laz,” a fatal virus that raises the dead—and hell along with them. Hardly ideal circumstances. Then Nora meets Bram Griswold, a young soldier who is brave, handsome, noble . . . and dead. But as is the case with the rest of his special undead unit, luck and modern science have enabled Bram to hold on to his mind, his manners, and his body parts. And when his bond of trust with Nora turns to tenderness, there’s no turning back. Eventually, they know, the disease will win, separating the star-crossed lovers forever. But until then, beating or not, their hearts will have what they desire.

In Dearly, Departed, romance meets walking-dead thriller, spawning a madly imaginative novel of rip-roaring adventure, spine-tingling suspense, and macabre comedy that forever redefines the concept of undying love.”

I loved this book! I can honestly say, the word “love” started to lose all it’s meaning, that’s how many times I kept saying it while reading Dearly, Departed. It was fantastic! What can I say? First of all, I love – there it is again – zombies. Zombies are friggin cool, man. Continue reading

Book Review: Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Hardcover: 336 Pages

Series: Razorland #2

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

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Deuce’s whole world has changed. Down below, she was considered an adult. Now, topside in a town called Salvation, she’s a brat in need of training in the eyes of the townsfolk. She doesn’t fit in with the other girls: Deuce only knows how to fight.

To make matters worse, her Hunter partner, Fade, keeps Deuce at a distance. Her feelings for Fade haven’t changed, but he seems not to want her around anymore. Confused and lonely, she starts looking for a way out.

Deuce signs up to serve in the summer patrols—those who make sure the planters can work the fields without danger. It should be routine, but things have been changing on the surface, just as they did below ground. The Freaks have grown smarter. They’re watching. Waiting. Planning. The monsters don’t intend to let Salvation survive, and it may take a girl like Deuce to turn back the tide.

To be completely honest, this was a disappointment. What is it with Aguirre and her second installments in the series being less than great?! I have yet to finish Hell Fire from the Corine Solomon series, even though I thought the first novel was brilliant.

As I’m sure you guessed by now, “Outpost” was not what I expected. The novel starts  with a short recap of the first books story, skillfully written by Aguirre so it doesn’t come across as annoying or repetitive. Or so I thought. In truth, repetition was one of the problems of this book, whether it came in the form of  Deuce’s memories which prompted, at times, whole paragraphs from the first book, or in the form of Deuce’s motto: “I’m a Huntress”. If I had to hear/read that one more time..

Even if two whole months passed since Deuce and her friends arrived in Salvation, she’s still stubborn to the point of being downright petulant when it comes to adapting to this new life and understanding/learning this society’s rules. She keeps calling married couples Breeders, children she calls brats. I loved her character in “Enclave” because it showed her as open-minded enough to accept another life and reality, but not in this book. Not at first, anyway. Her attitude is understandable to a point, but soon it becomes tiresome and annoying.

We do get to see more of her and Fade and the beginning of a real relationship between the two. But that ends pretty much as soon as it begins.

I actually liked Stalker more than I did in the first book. He’s changing from the brute that he was, while still being loyal to Deuce. I certainly don’t like him as a love interest and I can’t stand the love triangle thing that’s going on, but that’s that. ( Again, the author sure seems to like love triangles).

If you’re expecting “Outpost” to be as action packed as the first installment was then think again. It’s more centered on the relationships between characters than it is on action scenes. We do get a few of those, but they’re extremely rare and end quickly.  Frankly, the first half of the book was rather boring because nothing really happened.

To make matters worse, we don’t get any more explanations to any questions the first novel posed. We still don’t know how the Freaks came to be even though they make a solid and consistent presence throughout the book or what happened that turned  this world into a post-apocalyptic one. What we do get is a picture of how the Freaks are evolving. They’re no longer the mindless creatures they were.

One other thing that bothered me, minor as it is, was that Aguirre didn’t provide us with an answer as to why Deuce can hear Silk’s voice in her head. It happens on several occasions and one might think it’s just her own inner voice, but that doesn’t explain the semi-prophetic things she heard from Silk   towards the end of “Enclave”.

While the world building severely lacked because of many still unanswered questions, the writing was good. I do like Aguirre’s writing very much, it’s easy to follow and clear, with one (not so) tiny problem: she chose to explain every single thing happening to her characters and every single thing they did, instead of just showing us, letting us figure it out on our own or letting said things speak for themselves.

Overall and despite everything I just said, this isn’t a horrible or even bad book. It was ok and it will prove a decent read as long as you don’t expect much to happen. I’m still invested into this series and I will read the next installment as well. If only to get my answers.

Book Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . . 

Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run. Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . . 
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her. When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

Hardcover: 431 Pages

Series: Pure #1

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

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Book Review: Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan—the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.”

Hardcover: 403 Pages

Series: Defiance #1

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

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I really wanted to like Defiance, but this is one book you couldn’t pay me to finish. Continue reading

Book Review: Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

Hardcover: 335 Pages

Series: Unwind Trilogy #1

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

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I think this may be one of my favorite books, of all times. It deserves a 10 stars out of 5, seriously.   Continue reading

Book Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, the one thing she could rely on was her best friend and fellow refugee, Mal. And lately not even that seems certain. Drafted into the army of their war-torn homeland, they’re sent on a dangerous mission into the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh.

When their convoy is attacked, all seems lost until Alina reveals a dormant power that not even she knew existed. Ripped from everything she knows, she is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. He believes she is the answer the people have been waiting for: the one person with the power to destroy the Fold.

Swept up in a world of luxury and illusion, envied as the Darkling’s favorite, Alina struggles to fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But as the threat to the kingdom mounts, Alina uncovers a secret that sets her on a collision course with the most powerful forces in the kingdom. Now only her past can save her . . . and only she can save the future.”

Hardcover: 358 Pages

Series:  The Grisha Trilogy #1

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

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Book Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE
In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.
As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.
Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first Deuce thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.
As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.”

Hardcover: 262 Pages

Series: Razorland #1

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

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I absolutely and completely and totally LOVED this book! I finished it in a couple of hours, I couldn’t stop reading. Continue reading