Fiction · Horror · Science Fiction · Young Adult

Cut Off

44806125

Title: Cut Off

Author: Adrianne Finlay

Page Count: 384

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: August 11, 2020 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Format: eBook

Review: I was obsessed with the Lost series back when it was airing, so when this book was described as “Warcross meets Lost…” I knew I simply must read it.  Unfortunately for me, it was just…meh.  There were a couple scenes that creeped me out in the beginning, but overall it was not particularly exciting.  The one thing it did have in common with Lost was that the final reveal was truly disappointing.  I knew there was going to be a science fiction element to the story, but it was a bit more sci-fi-y than I was expecting.  I also wanted to see more character complexity and development.  The characters felt very formulaic to me: the brainiac, the deceiver, the loner, and the closed off beauty.  Nobody really surprised me or made me question what I knew about them.  I wasn’t really feeling the romantic angle either.  In a story like this, I feel the romance should add more depth to the plot or characters, but it didn’t really serve to do so as much as I wanted.  It was not a terrible read, but also not one I enjoyed enough to give a higher rating.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fantasy · Fiction · Science Fiction

Chosen Ones

40944762. sy475

Title: Chosen Ones

Author: Veronica Roth

Page Count: 304

Series: The Chosen Ones, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: April 7, 2020

Format: eBook

Review: This was a very original concept…what really happens to a hero after they have defeated evil? I think that Roth gives a really realistic depiction of how ordinary people would cope with extraordinary pressures and trauma.  I have always thought that being famous would be incredibly stressful – always dealing with scrutiny, invasion of privacy, and false narratives.  Each of the five heroes in this story deal with it differently, some withdrawing into anger or addiction, while others seemingly embrace it.  When evil rears it’s ugly head again, the heroes must take a critical look at the past, and what they think they know about themselves and each other.

It’s difficult for me to put my finger on why I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would.  Roth does a decent job of fleshing out the characters, but I think her set up took just a little too long.  I struggled to remain actively engaged and I could put this book down for days at a time without feeling compelled to pick it back up.  Now that the characters and story have been established, I imagine I would enjoy a sequel far more, though this is difficult for me to say with any certainty.  Considering this is accurate to how I felt when reading her Divergent series, I remain hopeful that the series will prove to be worth reading even though the way she ended it makes me uncertain.  It ended with a bang, but then tapered off into different directions.  If it wasn’t being advertised as the first in a series, I would have assumed it was a standalone.

Although this is Roth’s first “adult” fiction book, I still think it will mostly appeal to a younger demographic.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fantasy · Fiction · Science Fiction · Young Adult

Renegades

28421168

Title: Renegades

Author: Marissa Meyer

Performer: Rebecca Soler and Dan Bittner

Length: 17 hr, 5 min, 45 sec

Series: Renegades, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2017 by MacMillan Young Listeners

Format: eAudiobook

Review: I am a big fan of Marissa Meyer and Rebecca Soler, so I knew I simply must listen to this book in audiobook format.  Soler’s performance was stellar as always, but this particular book didn’t really showcase the breadth of her talent like other books written by Marissa Meyer have.   There was not a lot of character voice variance, though this was partially because the second POV was narrated by a second performer.

As for the story itself, I have to start by saying that I really enjoy Meyer’s ability to write emotional origin stories for villains.  This book sort of falls in that category, though I would not compare it to Heartless or Fairest.  This book is written in two POVs, and this worked really well for this particular story, because it really highlights the blur between the hero and villain narrative.  Both characters are fundamentally good people with radically different experiences and ideas.  This puts them at odds, and while society worships one, they demonize the other.  This creates some intriguing conflicts, and leads to a lot of character development.

Despite it’s many merits, I would not say this is Meyer’s strongest book.  I love the X-Men stories, and though their influence is clearly apparent in this book, I found the story dragged a bit long and at some points frustrated me.  I found it very odd that the Renegades embraced Nova so completely and she so easily infiltrated their ranks.  I also found some of Nova’s ideology to be a bit contradictory, and her backstory did not fully convince me that it made sense for her to so whole-heartedly despise the Renegades.  The conclusion sort of surprised me, though I had already predicted some of the plot twists.  It was more of the manner in which they were revealed that surprised me rather than the actual reveals themselves.  Based on the ending,  I am strongly considering reading the next book, however, I am in no rush and will be attacking other books in my “to read” pile first.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fantasy · Fiction · Paranormal · Romance · Science Fiction · Young Adult

Obsidian

12578077

Title: Obsidian

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Page Count: 335

Series: Lux, Book 1

Publishing Date/Publisher: May 8, 2012 by Entangled Teen

Format: eBook

Review: I can’t say I didn’t know what I was getting into with this.  It was a light paranormal read that didn’t make me think too much.  It follows a very standard formula.  New girl who doesn’t know she is beautiful moves into small town and meets mysterious and attractive boy.  There is instant attraction and they immediately start a love/hate relationship.  The boy, who also happens to be an alien, runs hot and cold, but eventually succumbs to his feelings for human girl.  Throw in some bad guys, a happy-go-lucky sister, a jealous ex and you’ve got a pretty predictable plot for this book.  Admittedly, this is sometimes the type of book I want to read, especially after I have read books with heavier content, but it was nothing new or original.  I will likely not be moving on with the series.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_Goldhalf star

Fiction · Science Fiction · Young Adult

The Grace Year

43263520. sy475

Title: The Grace Year

Author: Kim Liggett

Page Count: 416

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: October 8, 2019 by Wednesday Books

Format: Hardcover

Review: This book has been likened to the Handmaid’s Tale, and I would say that is fairly accurate.  Liggett took a page from Atwood’s handbook and created a world ruled by men who will do everything in their power to subjugate women.  It was bloody, it was brutal, and it was ripe with misogyny.  In this society, young women are blamed for their sexuality and are sent to a special camp to “burn off their magic.”  Rather than band together, the girls are torn apart by jealousy and girl on girl cruelty.

My biggest issue with this book is the lack of world building.  The reader is simply dropped into an insular society of undetermined size that is using a story from the Bible to justify the dehumanization of women.  The society is very primitive, and it is unclear to me how this dystopian society came into existence.  I generally like some context for dystopian novels, so I had great difficulty buying the setting.

I think this book has the potential to garner some popularity because there are still many readers who love dystopian fiction, but I do not think it does anything new to revolutionize the genre.

Reader: Bekah

Rating:

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

 

Fiction · Romance · Science Fiction

The UnTied Kingdom

10762643

Title: The UnTied Kingdom

Author: Kate Johnson

Performer: Julia Barrie

Length: 15 hr, 4 min

Series: N/A

Publishing Date/Publisher: 2013 by Recorded Books

Format: eAudiobook

Review: Well I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would, but it was still an enjoyable read.  The narrator was easy to listen to, and the story for the most part had a lot of action.  This book was surprisingly light on romance for a romance novel.  It was clear from the beginning who the fated pair would be, but the romance really doesn’t blossom until well into the last half of the book.

I am always a little leary of “time travel” books because I find the concept to be so confusing and overdone.  I would consider this to be more of a “parallel universe” book with very little explanation as to how the hole between worlds works.  The parallel universe Eve lands in is more of an alternate history where the trajectory of significant historical events has been changed, resulting in Britain essentially becoming a third world country that has been torn apart by civil wars.  I would have liked to know more about how the rest of this reimagined world works, but you only get snippets here and there throughout the story.  In a lot of ways this makes the story very insular and I was left with many questions.  It is always interesting to think about how changing the past might affect the future, and it is fascinating to consider how even one decision could change the whole course of history.  I suppose Johnson could write a thousand novels based on this topic and I would still have questions, so I must be content with the brief glimpse I am given in this one.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold

Fiction · Science Fiction

The Lightest Object in the Universe

40591948

Title: The Lightest Object in the Universe

Author: Kimi Eisele

Page Count: 336

Series: Unknown

Publishing Date/Publisher: July 9, 2019 by Algonquin Books

Format: eBook

Review: For people who enjoy realistic dystopian fiction, this would be a great book recommendation.  There is nothing unique about this book that sets it apart from other books I have read in this genre, but I did find the setting and backstory to be very plausible.  I also thought it was very romantic to have one character trekking across the United States to be reunited with his faraway love.

There was nothing particularly surprising about this story (no plot twists); however, it kept a steady pace and was a pretty quick read.  I had a little bit of trouble at times following the plot because the formatting was off in my ARC copy (it would switch POV without warning), but I assume this will be fixed when the book goes through its final edits.

Reader: Bekah

Rating: 

All_Star_GoldAll_Star_GoldAll_Star_Gold