02. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

SYLO by D.J. MacHale, read by Angie, on 06/28/2013

Some books you read and you know what is going to happen from the beginning; some books you figure out half way through; and some books you finish and really have no idea what is going on. That is the case with Sylo. I read it and the entire time I was thinking “what the heck is happening here? what is going on?”. That isn’t to say that it wasn’t fun and entertaining, because it was. It just didn’t explain enough for me. I have no idea who the bad guys were, who the good guys where, who is fighting who? It is all very confusing.

Basically, the story takes place on an island off the coast of Maine. There are mysterious deaths and a weird off-islander pushing a new drug (ruby dust that makes you superhuman and might kill you). Then the Navy arrives and quarantines the island. Everyone is stuck and the Sylo guys mean it when they say no one leaves the island. They will stop at nothing (including murder) to make sure the quarantine holds. Then there are these mysterious flying objects and air battles with the Navy ships. The Sylo group also starts rounding people up and putting them in camps. It all seems to be connected to the strange “Ruby” that has appeared on the island. I am not going to give away the ending because it is a huge plot twist but it basically sets this up as a series. I sincerely hope future books give a little more explanation, because this one leave you scratching your head.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.

01. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fairy Tales and Folklore, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Cinder by Marissa Meyer, read by Leslie, on 06/30/2013

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.

A great new telling of the old classic, Cinderella.  This book was thoroughly enjoyable, It was hard to put down at night.  At one point, you even have to wonder if Cinder is really the missing princess, such is the way you get hooked to it.  I can’t wait to read the others in the series, a definite recommend!

01. July 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Starters by Lissa Price, read by Leslie, on 06/28/2013

Starters (Starters and Enders, #1)

To support herself and her younger brother in a future Beverly Hills, sixteen-year-old Callie hires her body out to seniors who want to experience being young again, and she lives a fairy-tale life until she learns that her body will commit murder, unless her mind can stop it.

To think that old people could be so callous in the future is just unimaginable to me but when you have a lot of money I guess anything is possible.  A very good story, futuristic with mystery and murder thrown in, as well as the usual political intrigue.  I thought the ending was nice, it tied everything together, while leaving a way for the next one in the series.  I hope our future never turns out like this!

26. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Tammy · Tags: ,

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks, read by Tammy, on 06/24/2013

Moving and thought-provoking. Definitely not two words I thought I’d ever use to describe a zombie novel.

world war zIt didn’t dwell on the gore of a zombie attack and killing zombies though some of that action is described. Instead it is a collection of first person accounts from doctors to soldiers to individual citizens and political leaders in a variety of countries and cultures. It clearly brings home the emotional, social and economic damage caused by world-wide plague conditions or even an individual country laid low by a plague outbreak. It deftly combines the two (war and plague) never completely forgetting that the enemy were once other human beings often neighbors and friends or family who did not choose to become the enemy but for your survival and the survival of the human race and the human spirit — they all have to die.

24. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Proxy by Alex London, read by Angie, on 06/23/2013

At some point in the future, war and disease have decimated the planet. Humanity is forced into a few mountain cities to survive. Rebuilding is expensive so in order for the poor to live in this new society they must go into massive debt and become the “proxy” for a wealthy patron. What does a proxy do? They are punished in the place of their patron. So if the patron destroys property, the proxy takes the punishment. Syd is an orphan and a proxy who lives in the Valve (the slums). He is constantly reminded of his debt because his patron Knox is always getting into trouble. This time it is more than just a little trouble; this time Knox steals a car and kills a girl during a joy ride. So Syd is punished and sentenced to hard labor. Syd was also forced to give blood so that Knox could have a life saving transfusion. The transfusion not only saved Knox’s life it revealed just how special Syd really his. Seems he has a virus in his blood that can wipe out all the systems of debt and free everyone from its control. The only problem is that Syd has to survive in order to release the virus and right now he is a wanted man.

What a fascinating world. Alex London has done a wonderful job creating a world that is different and unique. He has also created two truly different characters. Knox is obnoxious, privileged and self-indulgent, but he does have a heart and he really just wants his father’s attention. Syd just wants to survive. He wants to make it to 18 to life out his debt. He keeps his head down and his profile low and he has no respect or time for his patron. Unfortunately, in order for Syd to survive he has to rely on Knox and others in a way he never dreamed. They must outwit the system and escape the city, survive bandits and the wild, and make it to the resistance to release the virus. Along the way they get to know each other and themselves. They mature (at least Knox does) and become who they are meant to be. I even liked the ending of the book.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.

23. June 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Children's Books, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction · Tags:

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, read by Angie, on 06/20/2013

Some kind of disaster has befallen the world and humanity must be saved. So the Builders create Ember, a city deep underground. They create instructions for the citizens to follow once it is safe to emerge. Unfortunately, the instructions are lost and the people of Ember never know there is a world outside of their small community. The expiration date is coming due on Ember; the power is failing and they are running out of supplies. No one seems that worried however, except Lina and Doon. Lina finds the instructions, unfortunately after her baby sister Poppy has eaten part of them. As Lina and Doon try to decipher the Instructions, they also uncover corruption and greed in Ember. In order to safe everyone they must find a way out of Ember.

I really enjoyed this book and my bookclub kids did as well. I also thought they did a really good job on the movie as well; one of the few times when I actually liked a movie made from a book. Lina and Doon are really interesting characters who are actively pursuing something unlike the majority of the characters in this book who are stagnant and just want to continue with the status quo. I liked the mystery of trying to figure out what exactly the Instructions were saying and I thought the adventurous escape was thrill a minute. However, my favorite part had to be the end where Doon, Lina and Poppy discover a world they have only dreamed of. This book won the Missouri Mark Twain award.

27. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction

Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead , read by Angie, on 05/25/2013

Something has decimated our world in the future. This caused a reorganization of countries and governments. North America is now the RUNA and the place to live. It is civilized where the rest of the world is still a little wild. Mae is one of the super soldiers of the RUNA; this gives her super strength and speed. But unlike her fellow soldiers Mae is sometimes too strong and too fast. Justin has been exiled from RUNA and is now living in Panama. He was once a brilliant investigator for RUNA but did something that got him kicked out of the country. Mae is sent to retrieve Justin and bring him back to investigate a series of murders. Their first meeting is all mistaken identities, violence and hot sex, which makes it pretty awkward when they are actually introduced and puts a strain on their relationship. Together they investigate these bizarre murders and discover something their religion-despising country definitely does not want known.

This is an intriguing world that Mead has created. I wasn’t really sure what was going on for a lot of the book since she takes her time explaining, but it was always interesting. Mae and Justin are fascinating characters with rich backstories and intriguing futures. This series is probably going to deal with actual gods and their interference in everyday life. I wish we would have learned more about the gods and how they actually came to manifest, but hopefully that will be explained in future books. This is a pretty entertaining and intriguing starter to this series.

I received a copy of this book from the publishers on Netgalley.com.

03. April 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Elemental by Antony John, read by Leslie, on 03/10/2013

Elemental (Elemental, #1)

In a dystopian colony of the United States where everyone is born with powers of the elements, water, wind, earth, and fire, sixteen-year-old Thomas, the first and only child born without an element seems powerless, but is he?

While I liked this book, I didn’t find myself as engrossed in it as I thought.  I’m hoping the sequels are a little more in-depth with the mystery of the past and why the colony chose to close themselves off from any other humans.  Some of that is uncovered and part of the storyline, but I want more!

30. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction, Kira, Paranormal · Tags:

Bloodring book 1 Thorn St. Croix series by Faith Hunter, read by Kira, on 03/29/2013

BloodRing

Thorn is living in the end of times, though an its ambigous end of times, seraphs and demons are still fighting in a post-apocalyptic-ice-age.  Thorn is part of a new species, neomages, who are able to bend leftover creation energy to their will.  Specifically she is a stone mage, and since mages present a threat to both humans and seraphs they are confined to luxurious Enclaves.  Thorn is passing for a human, working as a jeweler, in a remote icy town.  When her ex-husband Lucas is kidnapped and her friends are threatened, she risks revealing her true identity in order to save her adopted family.

 

BloodRing isblodring a fastpaced page turner.  Lush imagery and really interesting world-building (especially the magic-working of the gems) add to the tale.  Though the book does NOT end on a cliff-hanger, it fails to wrap up a number of the mysteries.  Who is the Amethyst Mistress?  Why did Lucas haul all that amethyst back to the store/house for his ex-wife? did he really cheat on Thorn voluntarily and what is his latest wife up to?

29. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction · Tags:

Breathe by Sarah Crossan, read by Angie, on 03/27/2013

In this future world, the trees are gone and the air as well. People are forced to live in pods in order to survive. All are not equal in the pods. Those in zone 1 have the most privilege and the most air. The privileges and air goes down as you go further into the pods. Quinn is from zone 1; is father is very powerful in Breathe, the corporation that runs the pods and controls the air. His best friend Bea is from zone 3. Her family is poor, but she is smart and ambitious. Quinn and Bea decide to go camping in the Outside. They plan a two day excursion but at the border Alina insinuates herself into their group. Alina is a member of the resistance and needs to get out of the pod fast. Together they set off across the wastelands of the past world with only an oxygen tank between them and suffocation. Alina introduces Bea and Quinn to the resistance, who are trying to replant the trees and wake up the citizens about the corruption of Breathe.

This book was ok. I feel like it really didn’t cover any new ground in the dystopian/post-apocalyptic world. You had the typical corrupt corporation/politicians, resistance fighters, innocent teens, and of course a love triangle. The romance in this book was beyond awkward. Bea is in love with Quinn but he doesn’t know it. He becomes infatuated with Alina after a minute, but she doesn’t care. Alina thought she was in love with this resistance guy Abel, but who knows if that was true. Quinn finally wakes up and realizes he loves Bea but they can’t be together because of the class difference. It was pretty ridiculous. I wish there was more about the resistance and the uprising, but Crossan leaves us hanging. Not a terrible book, but nothing new here.

20. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Stung by Bethany Wiggins , read by Angie, on 03/18/2013

Fiona wakes up in her bedroom, but it isn’t her bedroom. Everything is dusty and broken and abandoned. She also realizes she is different herself. She has a weird tattoo on her hand and she seems older. In fact, she is older. She has lost four years of her life. Once she travels outside she realizes the world has gone to hell in that time. Nothing and no one is the same. There are now armed gangs patrolling the streets, a walled compound protecting people and feral groups living in the sewers. Fiona is captured by the militia and taken into custody. Apparently the tattoo on her hand means she is one of the most dangerous people alive and any moment she could turn into a raving beast. Her captor turns out to be her childhood neighbor who has always had a crush on her. They are soon on the run and falling in love.

I have to confess that while I was reading this book I couldn’t put it down. It is fast-paced and entertaining. However, for the most part it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I enjoy dystopians and my biggest pet peeve with them is lack of world-building. The world-building in this book didn’t make the most sense. It only took four years for the world to fall apart and it was all because the bees had disappeared (why do I keep getting Dr. Who flashes???). A vaccine to protect the elite (of course) from some disease caused by the bees disappearing actually turns people into monsters. The vaccine not only comes with a side of beast but a tattoo. And you get additional marks on your tattoo for every shot you get; so of course 10 marks means you are crazy! I didn’t get the militia, the compound, the gangs, etc. Bad world building!

The other thing I had a problem with was Fiona and Fiona and her beau. Fiona had to be the most pathetic, worthless heroine ever. She didn’t seem to have any survival instincts or actual intelligence sometimes. She never tried to escape her captors and at one point thought it would be a good idea to dress up in a pretty sundress and sandals in a world where she has been told women get raped for just being female. And how come men can’t control themselves? Really? It isn’t like the women died. Fiona and Dreyden were another big question mark for me. He starts out hating and fearing her and by the end of the book is ready to die for her. She still thinks she is 13 and lusts after his brother. Doesn’t matter if he holds her captive and is going to turn her over to become a guinea pig in a lab she will still always love him by the end. And the end…ugh! That is all I am going to say about that.

I did receive this book from the publishers on Netgalley and they obviously did not pay me for this review.

17. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Prodigy by Marie Lu, read by Angie, on 03/15/2013

Prodigy picks up after the events of Legend. June and Day have fled Los Angeles and are headed to Vegas. They are hoping to find the Patriots and enlist their help in rescuing Day’s brother Eden. The Patriots agree to help as long as June and Day help them. The Elector Primo has just died and his son Anden has taken his place. The Patriots want June and Day to assassinate Anden and start a revolution. The plan calls for June to be captured and become close to Anden and for Day to show his face and start causing a ruckus. The people see June and Day as heroes and the Patriots want to cash in on their celebrity status. The plan goes off without a hitch, but while getting close to Anden June learns that he is not what the Patriots think. He could be the voice of change they all hope for. She just has to get the message to Day and hopefully foil the assassination plans.

Oh how I love this series. It is so smartly written and so engaging that you really don’t want to put it down. As in Legend, this book is written from the dual perspectives of June and Day and while I am not always a fan of this style of writing I think it works perfectly here. By having both June and Day tell the story from their points of view you get a much wider picture of what is going on. I think the world-building is much stronger in this book. We get a look at the colonies and at the history of the country and a peak at the world outside the former United States. I like that both June and Day each have their eyes opened to what is going on outside the Republic.

The story was so fast-paced and so tightly written that I really can’t say anything negative about it. There is the inevitable love triangle or love square. I have to admit that I like the contrast between Anden and Day and their affections for June. I despise the addition of Tess to this romantic scenario. It just kind of grossed me out! But the June/Anden connection works as does the June/Day connection. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book. I do have to say the ending was heart-breaking and Marie Lu better fix that in the next book!

03. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Orleans by Sherri L. Smith, read by Angie, on 03/01/2013

Hurricane after hurricane as hit the Gulf Coast. Each one destroying more and more until finally the last one pretty much wipes out the Delta. Then comes diseases and finally Delta Fever. Everything is so polluted after the destruction that disease runs rampant. Delta Fever is something new that attacks by blood type and only transfusions will slow the disease. The Delta is released from the US and a wall built to keep the survivors and the fever safely away from the rest of the world. The people left behind do not crumble; they recreate their civilization; they form tribes based on blood type and they survive. Fen de la Guerre is one such survivor; she is an OP (O positive) and has her tribe. But her tribe is attacked and she is the only survivor except a newborn baby girl whose mother, the OP tribe leader, died birthing her. Fen must find a way to survive and keep baby girl alive.

Into this crazy world comes Daniel, a scientist from across the wall. He was been working on a cure for Delta Fever and found one with only a small drawback, not only does it kill the virus it also kills the host. He is hoping there is something in the Delta that will help him fix his virus. Of course, Daniel is useless in the world of Orleans and needs Fen to help him survive. Together they must travel across Orleans looking for information and surviving the dangers of the Delta.

I was getting burnt out on all the post-apocalyptic dystopians that have been coming out the past year, but this one restored my faith in the genre. Orleans is a well-written, well-developed book with a great story. Sherri L. Smith really spent a lot of time building this world and laying out the details for the reader. You know exactly how Orleans became what it is. You understand the people and what they are doing to survive. I also love that in this world race no longer matters. You know there are people of different racial backgrounds but what separates them is not the color of their skin but the type of blood they carry. Nothing else really matters except your blood type in Orleans.

Fen is a great female character. She is strong, she is a survivor and she will do whatever she needs to do to stay alive. She doesn’t really care about a lot of other people but she still has hope. I liked the dual narrators, although I was much more interested in Fen’s story than Daniel’s. I enjoyed the fact that there was no romance in this book. Dystopians so often fall into romantic angst or god-forbid love triangles, but Orleans steers clear of all of that. Fen and Daniel are worried about survival not hooking up (as it should be). Fen’s part of the book are written in dialect which might turn off some readers, but I didn’t find it difficult to understand at all. I like the open-endedness of the ending; this is a world I wouldn’t mind returning to.

I received this ARC free from Netgalley.com.

28. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books

Elemental by Antony John, read by Leslie, on 02/26/2013

Elemental

Sixteen-year-old Thomas has always been an outsider. The first child born without the power of an Element—earth, water, wind or fire—he has little to offer his tiny, remote Outer Banks colony. Or so the Guardians would have him believe.

Another dystopian book for this month!  I like the way the kids in this book learn to cope with the rigid rules the adults have set, in order to survive.  There is one girl who always ignores the rules, several kids that always follow the rules and a pair of brothers who are also treated as outcasts, even within their group.  They have to learn to trust each other and know that adults don’t always know best or do the right thing, if they want to survive the assault on their colony.  Another one that begins a series I might read as it comes out.

27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Dystopia, Fiction, Leslie, Teen Books · Tags:

The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch, read by Leslie, on 02/22/2013

The Eleventh Plague

Twenty years after the start of the war that caused the Collapse, fifteen-year-old Stephen, his father, and grandfather travel post-Collapse America scavenging, but when his grandfather dies and his father decides to risk everything to save the lives of two strangers, Stephen’s life is turned upside down.

A quick read for me, I do enjoy reading dystopia novels.  There were a few things about the book that made me go “hmm” and  a couple of times it didn’t seem plausible, but then again, that’s why I don’t write because I don’t think my stories would necessarily flow smoothly.  I might just read the sequel.

 

27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Dystopia, Fiction, Teen Books

UnWholly by Neal Shusterman , read by Angie, on 02/26/2013

Our heroes from Unwind are back. Connor and Risa are running the Graveyard, trying to save as many AWOL Unwinds as possible and deal with the day to day hassles of hundreds of kids. Lev, the tithe who didn’t clap, is helping a resistance organization save other tithes. We also meet new kids in this second installment of Shusterman’s trilogy. Starkey is an AWOL Unwind with a chip on his shoulder who has designs on leadership and power. Miracolina is a tithe who truly believes she should be unwound and definitely doesn’t want to be rescued by Lev. Cam is a rewind, a kid made from hundreds of unwinded parts. He is a composite being who just came to be.

I loved Unwind; it was one of the most thought provoking books I have ever read. I still think about it years after I read it. Shusterman has a twisted mind and I love to see where it goes. In the first book we learned about unwinds and why they exist. In this book we get a more thorough history of the process and a glimpse at the real reasons behind the Unwind Agreement. We also learn more about who is controlling things and who the resistance is. This second book is all about setting up the last book in the series. It is all about introducing us to the players and putting them where they need to go. That is not to say that it isn’t a fabulous read because it is. There is something so compelling about this world and its people that you really want to know more. I can’t wait until the next book.

25. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Dystopia, Fiction, Teen Books

Thumped by Megan McCafferty, read by Angie, on 02/24/2013

It has been 8 1/2 months since the events of Bumped. Melody and Harmony are both preggers with twins and eagerly awaiting D4 (Double Double Due Date). Harmony has returned to Goodside with her husband Ram and Melody and Jondoe are shacked up and the most talked about couple in the country. But all is not as it seems and as the due dates get closer secrets are going to come out.

This is such a fun series and this is a fitting ending to it. In this book McCafferty still focuses on the culture of teen sex and surrogacy, but the twins have grown up a bit. They are now less interested in the pop culture obsessed world and more worried about who and what they have become. I think these books are smart, funny and a really interesting comment on our obsession with sex and celebrity.

24. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

Flesh and Bone by Jonathan Maberry, read by Angie, on 02/22/2013

Benny, Nix, Chong and Lilah are still trekking East on their quest to find the jet. They are still really from the loss of Tom at Gameland. They rescue a child from a zombie hord and meet Riot and the Reapers. Riot is trying to lead a group to Sanctuary when they were attacked by the Reapers. The Reapers, led by Saint John and Mother Rose, are trying to finish what the zombie plague began and end humanity. Our group gets separated and danger finds each of them. In addition to the Reapers, they also discover the remnants of humanity. There is hope for them if only they can find Sanctuary.

These books are about so much more than zombies. It is about humanity and what the human race is capable of, both good and evil. I am glad we find out more about what is going on outside of the mountain communities in this book. We learn that there is a form of civilization left who is working on saving what is left of humanity. Whereas some of the previous books were about evil and despair this one is ends with hope (amid all the evil and despair). I can’t wait for the fourth and final book in this series.

24. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Dystopia, Fiction, Science Fiction, Teen Books

Aurora by Julie Bertagna, read by Angie, on 02/23/2013

Aurora is the final book in Julie Bertagna’s trilogy of a water destroyed world. It has been many years since the events in Zenith. Mara and her group are settled in the mountains of the north. Fox and Pandora are setting up rebellion in New Mungo and throughout the other skycities. Lily, Fox and Mara’s daughter, finds out about her missing father and sets off to find him.

This is an enjoyable finale to this series. It finishes up the stories of all our main characters and brings them back together. However, it feels a little disjointed as if the stories are not connected. I am also not a fan of the ending. There is so much set up in the reunion of the characters and then Bertagna leaves us hanging with no reunion scene. I do enjoy the world of these novels though. It is a not-improbable future where the oceans have risen and flooded the world. The remnants of humanity are scattered across the world in boat cities and the highest ground and in skycities created after the world ended.

19. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Dystopia, Fiction, Teen Books

Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth , read by Angie, on 02/16/2013

Insurgent picks up right where Divergent left off. Tris and Tobias and the gang have survived the Erudite takeover and are on the run with a few Dauntless defectors and Abnegation survivors. They seek help from the other factions, the truth-telling Candor and the peace-loving Amity, but soon realize they are on their own. They team up with the Factionless, all those who have left their factions and been marginalized by society. Together they must stop the Erudite from taking over completely. Along the way new alliances are formed, friends are betrayed, enemies are revealed and friendships are tested. Tris and Tobias and the rest must discover the secrets Erudite are willing to kill for and save what is left of their people.

There is a lot going on in this book and yet it seems like not a lot is accomplished. I do still enjoy this world Roth has created and am interested to see how the story plays out. This book suffers a bit from the sophomore slump; it is definitely the middle of the story setting up the big finale. In this book Tris is damaged by the events of the last book and what she had to do to survive. She is haunted by the shooting of her friend Will and can barely pick up a gun. This tests her relationship with Tobias and her friends. The Erudite are just as evil as always and their role is one of the more unsatisfying. It is never really adequately explained why they want to hide the information Abnegation was going to reveal or why they are so determined to exterminate the divergent. The big twist at the end is interesting and should make for an exciting final book.