Friday, April 25, 2014

Control by Lydia Kang

Control by Lydia KangReading Level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 393 Pages
Release Date: December 26, 2013
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Narration: First Person: Zelia
Genre: Dystopian
Source: Library
Trailer: Click Here

The Control Series
Book One: Control
Book Two: Catalyst
Book Three: Unknown

Order On Amazon: Hardcover
Order On Barnes and Noble:
Hardcover and Nook

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Goodreads Synopsis:

An un-putdownable thriller for fans of Uglies

When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn't even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.

A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.

My Review:

Cover Thoughts: Really digging the cover. Love the font of the title and the color scheme they used.

Other Thoughts: After reading Control, I still have no idea how the title or the slogan ties in with the novel. Maybe Control means the control group of an experiment? If that's the only way it connects to the novel, that's kind of sad. And "There are no accidents?" Not even a smidgen of a clue there.

I dove into Control with mixed feelings, so I can't say if it met my expectations or not. It was definitely confusing at first, no doubt in that. Lydia takes no time dawdling and immediately jumps into the stream of things, which was a good and bad thing. Good, because I wasn't stuck with a dragging info-dump, yet bad because I had no idea what I was reading about.

"Down the hallway, I smell my little sister walk by. This month, it's Persian freesia. 
Dad says nothing about her pricey scent downloads."

First time around, I skimmed this part and just thought, "Ok, so she likes perfume." But after a few more sentences, I was wondering, "Wait, what did she just say?" It took me a while to even realize that this story took place so far into the future. I mean, I knew that this world was going to have all sorts of genetic mutations, but for some reason, I still expected the world to be more modern rather than futuristic.

Another thing I had trouble coming to terms with was the sometimes, who am I kidding, most of the time irrational reactions the characters had to traumatic situations. For example, when Dylia and Zelia's dad died, both of them were upset. However, after a few hours, Dylia is fake-crying and primping herself up to catch a guy's attention? Geez. Adding onto the irrational reactions, things just....didn't make sense. Questionable actions were taken, yet the obvious questions weren't asked. People were happy to let others get away with things that seemed highly suspicious. 

The romance was utterly ridiculous as well. Not a classic Insta-love romance. Nope. Instead, it was a Insta-Hate THEN Love romance. And it was so predictable that I almost flung the novel across the room. As soon as the protagonist set eyes upon the "resident bad boy," I knew she was a goner before she even knew his name. Things went downhill straight from there. Shortly after they got over their mutual, seemingly intrinsic hate for each other, the love interest suddenly feels this weird, spontaneous need to protect her above all costs! Gah.

Even though I mostly disliked Control, there were still some aspects that I found rather fascinating. For example, the mutation/genetic modifications. Instead of the superpowers you would usually think of: invisibility, telepathy, telekinesis, teleporting, there were weird mutations like: extra ligaments, extra brains, or highly sensitive nose glands. Admittedly, I missed the old variety of superpowers, but I applaud Lydia for her originality.

Heroine- 2.5/5
Romance- 1.5/5
Please, let us never speak of this again.
Action- 2.5/5
Writing- 3/5
Overall- 2.5/5

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Reading Level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 613 Pages
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Narration: Third Person: Numerous
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
Paranormal Type: Angels/Chimaera
Source: Library

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series
Book One: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Book Two: Days of Blood and Starlight
Book 2.5: Night of Cake and Puppets
Book Three: Dreams of Gods and Monsters

Order On Amazon: Hardcover
Order On Barnes and Noble:
Hardcover and Nook

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Goodreads Synopsis:

By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy. 

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? 
And does anything else matter?

My Review:

Holy crap that was the longest book I've ever read. No, really.

"There is the past, and there is the future. The present is never more than the single second dividing one from the other. We live poised on that second as it's hurtling forward-toward what?" Pg. 79

One thing that I loved about this book was that it took a reasonable amount of time for the seraphs and the chimaeras to unite against a common enemy. It wasn't just a magical "OMG, we have to fight together to stop the end of the world, and then be best friends forever" sort of nonsense. Bad blood doesn't disappear that quickly. It was a gradual, quite excruciating climb toward not friendship, but acceptance. There were so many obstacles in the way. Every time something happened to impede the united front that Karou and Akiva dreamed of, I flinched and wanted to cry big, fat, ugly tears. And even though it was physically painful for me, it was realistic, and that's what counts in the end. This is no fairytale. It's life. And life? It ain't easy.

"Absence has presence, sometimes, and that was what she felt. Absence like crushed-dead grass where something has been and is no longer. Absence where a thread has been ripped, ragged, from a tapestry, leaving a gap that can never be mended. That was all she felt." Pg. 497

Laini Taylor has SUCH a magnificent way with words. She uses a lot of similes and metaphors in her stories, and I absolutely love them. Some authors utterly fail at this style of writing, but Laini? She's a pro. The images her words brought to life in my brain were stunning.

“You are a conniving, deceitful hussy. I stand in awe." 
"You're sitting."
"I sit in awe.” 

And then there's the humor. Hilarious, dead-pan humor. Zuze is the best possible friend any protagonist could ever have.

Now you may ask, if I loved the story so much, why the four stars? Well, for one thing, I'm not too big a fan of Karou. She was awesome in the first book, especially the opening scene, but throughout the series, she's grown more and more obscure. I'm not saying she's a weak character, because that definitely isn't true. She's intelligent and brave, but I still expected more from her, some character growth. For the majority of the novel, she was like this shy, delicate flower who blushed every time she was in Akiva's presence. *Eye rolls* However, that's not to say that I didn't enjoy the romance. In fact, I loved it. This series is the epitome of star-crossed lovers. Not slight star-crossed lovers or intentional-but-not-really-star-crossed-lovers, but true, hard-core star-crossed lovers. It pained me to see all the events that tore these two people apart. My soul and body literally ached for them to find any kind of happily ever after.

Just a warning for all of you out there, this novel has a huge amount of different POVs. For the most part, Laini handled it well, but I still found that it detracted from the story. I always knew who was talking, but the constant character shifts threw me off balance.

If she wanted to, Laini could write a fourth novel in this series. Probably not gonna happen, but I would like to see the war against the monsters of the outer realm.

On a totally unrelated note, Akiva. Is. Such. A. Badass. Had to get that out there.

Karou- 4/5
Akiva- 6/5
Romance- 5/5
All of the romances in this novel were phenomenal.
Action- 4/5
Lost my attention once in a while.
Writing- 5/5
Overall- 4/5

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Book Blitz + Giveaway: Sunset Rising by S.M. McEachern

Sunset Rising by S.M. McEachern

About The Book:
Release Date: November 12, 2013
 Add To GoodreadsGenre: Dystopia, Young Adult
Series: Sunset Rising #1

Sunset Rising
February 2024: Desperate to find refuge from the nuclear storm, a group of civilians discover a secret government bio-dome. Greeted by a hail of bullets and told to turn back, the frantic refugees stand their ground and are grudgingly permitted entry. But the price of admission is high.

283 years later… Life as a slave in the Pit had never been easy, but for seventeen-year-old Sunny O’Donnell it was quickly careening out of control. Her mother was killed in the annual spring Cull, leaving her alone with a father who decided to give up on life.  It’s not that she blamed him for grieving, but if they didn’t earn enough credits to keep their place inside the Pit, they would be kicked out into a world still teeming with radiation. That left her to earn the credits for both of them.  It didn’t help that her boyfriend, Reyes Crowe, was pressuring her to get married and abandon her father.

Sunny didn’t think life could get any worse, until she was forced upstairs to the Dome to serve and entertain the elite at a bachelor party. That's where she met Leisel Holt, the president's daughter, and her fiancĂ©, Jack Kenner. Now Sunny is wanted for treason. If they catch her, she'll be executed.  

She thought Leisel's betrayal was the end for her…
but it turns out it was just the beginning. 

Find The Book:
Amazon )

About The Author:

S.M. McEachern (also known as Susan) comes from the rocky shores of Canada’s East Coast.  As a resident of Halifax during her early adult years, she attended Dalhousie University and earned an Honors Degree in International Development Studies with a focus on ocean development.  Throughout her academic studies and early career, Susan had the privilege to work with many developing countries on resource management projects.  

Becoming an author has been a lifelong dream for Susan. “Sunset Rising” is her debut novel and the first of many she plans to write.  

Find The Author:
Goodreads ! Website ! Facebook ! Twitter )

Guest Post:

In the (un)Likely Event of an Apocalypse

The Apocalypse. The end of civilization as we know it. 
Maybe even the complete annihilation of the Earth.  

The thought is terrifying and has fascinated generations for decades. There have been thousands of predictions on how, why and when the world as we know it will come to an abrupt end. It’s the stuff that blockbuster films and best selling novels are made of (mine included!). But could an apocalypse actually happen?  What are the odds? And more importantly, can the human race survive the end of the world? As the author of a post-apocalyptic series, I’ve actually done some research on apocalyptic scenarios and here are a few of my thoughts:

Nuclear War:  Anyone who has read my novel, “Sunset Rising”, knows nuclear war is my apocalypse of choice (I say tongue in cheek). Consider the domino effect of just one nuclear explosion set off above a city: a) buildings and dwellings leveled and set on fire; b) the instantaneous death of anyone inhabiting the city; c) as the city is engulfed in flames, oil and gas stores (in vehicles and tanks) explode; e) the cloud from the firestorm rises into the atmosphere, blocking out the suns rays—the beginning of a nuclear winter; f) radiation fall-out. One nuclear warhead exploding over one city has the capability to wipe out millions of people.

There are more than 17,000 known nuclear weapons in the world, many of which are more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.   

In the (un)likely event of a global nuclear war, you might want to be digging out a bunker in your backyard and stocking it with canned food and clean water… In the meantime, you can join campaigns and groups dedicated to abolishing nuclear weapons globally.

Earth hit by an asteroid:  How big does an asteroid need to be to cause global destruction? NASA says anywhere from 1 to 2 km in diameter and up will likely end civilization.  Regional damage at the collision site would cause the most immediate destruction, but it’s the resulting “impact winter” possibly followed by an “ultraviolet spring” that would end life as we know it. For comparison, the asteroid responsible for the mass extinction of the dinosaurs was approximately 10 kilometers (6 miles) in diameter.

So what are the odds of Earth suffering a meteorite impact? Pretty good, actually.  Asteroids have collided with our planet in the past so there’s every reason to expect it will be hit again.  In fact, on March 5, 2014, a meteor approximately 98 feet in diameter—big enough to cause regional damage—passed between the Earth and Moon. 

In the (un)likely event of a meteorite impact, those people who already have a bunker dug-out to survive the nuclear war have the best chance for survival. Although, if you live in a coastal area subject to tsunamis from the event, forget the bunker and head to high ground. If you’d like a heads-up before the big bang, check in with the “Near Earth Object Program” here:

Zombies:  Can a zombie apocalypse actually happen?! The movie, “I am Legend” made it somewhat believable since people were turned into zombies via a rabies-type virus.  And here’s the other thing that makes “I am Legend” mind-blowingly scary—the zombies could run fast!  Biologists keep warning us we’re overdue for a pandemic. Could the zombie flu be the next one? 

In the (un)likely event of a zombie apocalypse, you’ll need to be in good physical shape, know how to use a rifle, and make sure you’re a fast runner…or at least faster than your mate ;)
Well, those are just a few ways our civilization could suffer an apocalypse.  
Are you prepared?  

The End