Paper Valentine – not as cute as the title suggests

Papervalentine

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

I read a paperback

Bought for myself

Published Jan 2013 by Simon & Schuster

The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.

For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.

With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realises that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life – and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.

 

What a surprising read! I love it when books are unexpectedly good. This is the second book I’ve read by Brenna Yovanoff and there is such an addicting, unique quality to her writing, I find her style so unique and she is now officially an autobuy author for me! It’s my mission to read the rest of her books.

Paper Valentine is a murder mystery/ paranormal mash up where the main character Hannah is haunted by her dead best friend, Lillian, and together they begin to get caught up in the current murders that are happening to young girls in their community.

Freaky alert. This book gave me the creeps at times. Be prepared to get a little scared as there are ghost flashes, graphic murder scenes and disturbing things all round. Though disturbing seems to be Brenna Yovanoff’s forte and she does it very well.

This had some tropes that in a normal circumstance, I would not like such as bitchy popular girl group, toxic relationships, the bad boy that is actually good and a hint of insta love. Maybe I was in the right mood, but these things did not bother me so much. The bitchy girl groups was surprisingly dynamic and the insta love was reminiscent of high school first love. I found it to be more cute than annoying.

There was also the issue of anorexia is this book. Dead bestie Lillian succumbed to anorexia and I liked Yovanoff’s portrayal of the illness. This does not happen often, as I find most portrayals to be highly unrealistic and not at all what dealing with anorexia is actually like. The complexity is shown really well through Lillian’s multiple discussions with Hannah and it made total sense to me.

Overall I loved this book and I think it deserves a solid 4.5 stars. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a good young adult murder mystery.

Drowned is drowning in uniqueness

Drowned

Drowned by Nicola Reily

I read a paperback copy

Published: June 2014 by Harlequin Teen

I bought this book myself

Coe is one of the few remaining teenagers on the island of Tides. Deformed and weak, she is constantly reminded that in a world where dry land dwindles at every high tide, she is not welcome. The only bright spot in her harsh and difficult life is the strong, capable Tiam—but love has long ago been forgotten by her society. The only priority is survival.

Until the day their King falls ill, leaving no male heir to take his place. Unrest grows, and for reasons Coe cannot comprehend, she is invited into the privileged circle of royal aides. She soon learns that the dying royal is keeping a secret that will change their world forever.

Is there an escape from the horrific nightmare that their island home has become? Coe must race to find the answers and save the people she cares about, before their world and everything they know is lost to the waters.

What an amazing surprise this book was! I bought it on a whim whilst browsing at BIG W. Took me a year to pick it up but I’m so glad I did.

Drowned is set in a futuristic setting after the oceans has risen and humans have been living on a small island for a very, very, very long time. The sea level is so high that it covers the entire island at high tide every day.  Our MC, Coe, is a young girl on the island who is disliked by most and is doing her best to survive when she suddenly gets noticed and becomes the princess’s hand maiden.

In general I enjoyed the variety of characters is this book. Coe is a fantastic character and I grew to like her personally a lot. Despite her situation, she is very relatable and still retains normal, teenage feelings and emotions and it doesn’t feel weird.  She begins quite closed off and a bit numb, but then she just grows into herself and gains confidence and experience and it’s a fantastic, slow transition that I appreciate so much.

Love is an interesting point in Drowned. We see it from so many perspectives and what it means for different people. By no means is it the focus of the book but it is definitely an important aspect that I enjoyed.

Also, there is this fantastic twist at the end that people have been describing as fantasy, but I think it has more to do with evolution. Maybe not realistic evolution, but whatever. I still like it and I would like it more if that as the author’s intent. So that’s what I’m going to believe. 😛

All in all a fantastic book that I believe is immensely underrated. Great characters, plot arc, twists that I didn’t predict and has such an interesting setting that I haven’t seen before in YA. Highly recommend.

 

 

Jessica Shirvington’s Between The Lives blew my mind

betweenthelivesBetween the Lives by Jessica Shirvington

Published: (this edition) August 2014 by Orchard Books 

Genre: Romance, Contemp/Fantasy

Format: eBook

Rating: An impressive gust! Four birdies

I received an ecopy of Between the Lives to review from Netgalley – this in no way effects my opinion

The perfect life or the perfect love. You choose.

For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she shifts to her ‘other’ life – a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she’s a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she’s considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.

With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments that bring her dangerously close to the life she’s always wanted. But if she can only have one life, which is the one she’ll choose?

A compelling psychological thriller about a girl who lives two parallel lives – this is Sliding Doors for the YA audience

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A book with heartfelt meaning, overflowing with messages and exploding with serious questions and concepts – I really loved this carefully plotted story

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Between the Lives was creepy, awesome, interesting and meaningful. This is my first read from Shirvington, and I’m impressed! I really enjoyed this book and its quirkiness. The only downside for me was that the romance was a little rushed, but otherwise, I have nothing but good to say!

Between the Lives follows Sabine, who literally lives a double life. She resides in two different realities, where she is the same, but her situation is not. She “shifts” every 24 hours at midnight into a her other life. The story takes place after Sabine realizes a difference in her lives that could change everything.

First up, I really loved the concept and I totally congratulate Shirvington for writing it so carefully. I love the idea of having lives in two different realities and being aware of them. I could see so many opportunities for plot holes and inconsistencies, except there weren’t any. Nope. They were carefully avoided or they were explained in detail. Which is awesome! My mind kept trying to pick at things, but it couldn’t. Leaving me to read in peace.

I really enjoyed the characters in Between the Lives, though some were a bit cliché. It’s hard for me to say if Sabine was developed or not, because, she was two different people. But then again, even though she was different, it was because she forced herself to be different, and it’s that underlying voice that we get a real picture of. She’s the same person with this ideal that she has to be a certain way in each world; not understanding that she can just be herself.

Meaning! This book was more than just your action packed, tell-a-story book, but it held meaning and depth which I just love. Life should be treasured is one meaning, whilst the other I saw was about being yourself. I thought both were explored and portrayed really well!

In saying this, I didn’t believe the romance in Between the Lives. It was there, but I think it was a little too rushed to have the depth it was meant to have. I almost believed it, but I needed a little more connection and a little slower/ more gradual climax for total impact.

Otherwise, Between the Lives had just enough description to satisfy my needs, and I liked how each world was complex, how everything wasn’t perfect or bad. Her journey to deciding which life is better is interesting and sets up some great questions!  I didn’t quite connect with the romance, though the plot, characters and messages the book explores are great! I definitely recommend Between the Lives!

  • The content in Between the Lives is explicit. I recommend for older teens and up.

myrating

justbreezy!

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson – I FEEL you!

amyandrogerAmy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson 

Genre: YA, Contemporary 

Published: May, 2010 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Format: Paperback

Rating: Blew me away. 5 birdies.

Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it’s Amy’s responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar – especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory – but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way 

 

  Such an adorable coming of age, grieving, healing, adventure, romance book! It was light, but serious. And I could totally and completely empathize.

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My first Morgan Matson book! Can I just say, I’m really happy that Kayla from The Thousand lives recommended this? Such an adorable coming of age, grieving, healing, adventure, romance book! It was light, but serious. And I could totally and completely empathize.

The book starts at the beginning of a road trip with college boy Roger, after a horrible accident splits Amy’s family apart. I honestly had no idea what to expect going into this book. I first thought it would just be a cute, fun romance. But oh, was I wrong. It was so much more and loved it all the same.

I’ll begin by saying that I was surprised at how much I could not only sympathize, but empathize. I’m lucky in that I have never had a close family member or friend pass away. Only a few pets, which I suppose is still traumatic. So whenever I read a book that deals with extreme grieving, I get a little wary. Because I almost never, ever quite understand. I can imagine it, but without ever having gone through it myself, I never fully understand what people must be going through.

This book was different though. I found myself crying uncontrollably and I felt like I understood Amy. The way in which she acted was totally believable. I feel like I might act in a similar manner if this happened to me.

Matson, what have you done to me?

I was so surprised by this. Especially since the rest of the book was so distracting. Like, I want to travel to America just so I can go on a road trip. I just don’t think it would be as fun in Aus.

Along with Amy, I really liked Roger’s character. I didn’t understand him as much, but he still felt real to me. Kind of like that elusive, but laid back, down to earth boy. Dreamy.

And I loved how little a role the romance played in the end. I was worried that it would be one of those cases where “love healed me”. But no – Roger certainly helped, yes, but it was not because they had some epic romance going on. He was just supportive. The detour is what really aided in Amy’s healing. All the people she met, places she had seen, state motto’s she recorded. She discovered life again through the simple things.

And I adored the scrapbooking parts between chapters. Such a cute addition!

SPOILER – highligt paragraph to view. 

I just wanted to add that the “accident” really resonated with me. Ever since I started driving, I have this fear of lights. I hate them. I hate coming up to a green one when it changes because I’m so bad at judging distances and if I have enough time to stop. I’m scared of being the one that runs the light. And I’m scared of leaving the intersection and colliding with someone else running the light. Maybe that’s one reason why I cried so hard. It was like, my worst fear come to life.

SPOILER End

My emotions are so mushy about this book. There isn’t really anything I can fault. I loved the characters and concept, and for the first time, can emphasize with grief.  And I now have a strong desire to road trip it. In America.

Thanks a lot Morgan Matson </3 >.< ❤myrating

storm

Mixed feelings about Mercy by Rebecca Lim

mercyMercy (Mercy #1) by Rebecca Lim

Genre: YA, paranormal (angels)

Published: October, 2010 by Angus&Robertson

Format: Paperback

My rating: Sweetly soft. 3 Birdies. 

Mercy ′wakes′ on a school bus bound for Paradise, a small town where everyone knows everyone else′s business — or thinks they do. But they will never guess the secret Mercy is hiding ….

As an angel exiled from heaven and doomed to return repeatedly to Earth, Mercy is never sure whose life and body she will share each time. And her mind is filled with the desperate pleas of her beloved, Luc, who can only approach her in her dreams.

In Paradise, Mercy meets Ryan, whose sister was kidnapped two years ago and is now presumed dead. When another girl disappears, Mercy and Ryan know they must act before time runs out. But a host of angels are out for Mercy′s blood and they won′t rest until they find her and punish her — for a crime she doesn′t remember committing …

I don’t know what to think about Mercy. It was a quick, enjoyable read – yet it was lacking something.

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I’m in two minds about Mercy. I really liked it, but I didn’t at the same time. Mercy is obviously a story about Angels. However, Mercy is almost ignorant to this aspect of herself. Like she has amnesia. All she knows is that her soul travels between person to person, where she has a job to carry out – such as preventing the person from dying or self destruction.

I like how Mercy doesn’t really know who she is. Normally things like that are annoying, but I like the layer of mystery it presents. If she was aware, we would just have all the knowledge and wouldn’t really feel like reading. Overall, the plot was well paced and present throughout the story. It was never pushed back, paused or put aside for another event. The plot just kept rolling, making it somewhat enjoyable and non-difficult to read.

I really liked Mercy’s character as well. Despite making me frustrated at her naïve-ness, she was straight forward, no – nonsense kind of girl. She doesn’t completely understand human emotions and that is clearly portrayed in her blunt nature – which she shows despite being present in another person’s body. I was actually surprised that I liked this, even though it makes her unrelatable. But, I think Mercy was a good comparison against Ryan, the human boy character who is consumed with emotions by his missing sister.

I didn’t really believe in the romance that sort-of came about in this book. This hindered my opinion of the book a little. I also couldn’t connect with the characters to an emotional level, which is also important in a book for me. Though one big problem I had was the lack of description!

The writing style in Mercy is short and to the point. Some people may love this, but, I am a description lover. I love flowing sentences and paragraphs filled with imagery. This is a very personal thing, but I am not a fan of short and snappy stories.

Despite my dislike at this, the ending was left at such a cliff hanger with so many unanswered questions and so many possibilities that I have to continue with the series! Overall, Mercy was an enjoyable read that I had a few, personal disagreements with.

myrating

asoftbreeze

Nicole William’s Crash makes me see red.

CrashCrash (Crash #1) by Nicole Williams

Genre: YA, romance, 

Published: December 2012, by Harper Collins

Format: Paperback

Rating: Could hardly feel it. 2 birdies. 

Jude Ryder and Lucy Larson are this generation’s Romeo and Juliet: Explosive. Sizzling. Tragic.

A steamy summer encounter with bad boy Jude means trouble for Lucy. Her sights are set on becoming a ballerina, and she won’t let anything get in her way . . . except Jude.

He’s got a rap sheet, dangerous mood swings, and a name that’s been sighed, shouted, and cursed by who knows how many girls.

Jude’s a cancer, the kind of guy who’s fated to ruin the lives of girls like Lucy—and he tells her so.

But as rumors run rampant and reputations are destroyed, Lucy’s not listening to Jude’s warning. Is tragedy waiting in the wings?

My honest opinion is that the plot was ridiculous, the characters were flat and I couldn’t connect with anything this story presented

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This book? I don’t know where to start.  I should probably admit that it was addicting and intense, I stayed up late to read it, and I was still keyed up when it finished. But, my honest opinion is that the plot was ridiculous, the characters were flat and I couldn’t connect with anything this story presented.

Crash tells the story of Lucy and Jude, as they fall in love, have ups and downs and release their demons. Sadly, I had an issue with the characters in Crash. They were hardly characters. I couldn’t connect to them, nor understand them. A big part that played in this, believe it or not, is the dialogue. It’s like these character are hiding behind this exaggerated teen speak the author uses. Fine; a witty, slightly sexy or sarcastic comment is great now and again. But constantly? Well, that’s all the character’s became, for me. Faces with witty words.

Despite this, I had difficulty putting Crash down. Even though I thought it was ridiculous, the suspense of “will they be together? How far will it go? What’s he done this time?” kept me reading. I really just wanted to see if they would end up together and how.

The plot was all sorts of ridiculous. Firstly, it is literally JUST about Lucy and Jude. There wasn’t any side plot (or rather, the romance wasn’t a side to some bigger plot). The romance was everything, and I decided I’m just not that big of a fan. It’s okay in some circumstances; though it would have to be done extremely well for me to like it. Reason being; the lack of plot or something else pushing the story, makes it flat and puts the pacing out.

The climax was just so utterly unbelievable. I won’t give away too much. But basically,

SPOILER ALERT (Highlight paragraph to view spoiler) I cannot fathom a teen boy not just being a rapist, but a serial rapist that takes lengthy, long measures (say, a year) to plan his attack. I just don’t believe it. I also don’t believe it not being reported, or figured out. The whole incident was swept under the carpet like it was no big deal. I see red, thinking of this.

Another thing I didn’t like, was the conveniences. Lucy has all these thoughts about her and Jude’s situation, and one day, Jude just pops up and says everything she was thinking. Exactly. Not cool.

Even though everything was tense, I didn’t like all the pointless arguments and crazy, protective, constantly changing behavior from Jude and Lucy’s clean plate. It’s why I won’t be continuing this series – I feel like it’s just going to be the same stuff all over again.

Sadly, I didn’t like Crash. If you like all encompassing, drama filled love stories, maybe this is for you. But I need more than just romance in my story. And I tire easily from drama.

myrating

barelyrockstheboat

I beg all of you to read Ask the Passengers by A.S. King!

askthepassengersAsk the Passengers by A.S King

Genre: Contemporary, YA,

Published: October, 2012, by  Little, Brown BFYR

Format: Paperback

Rating: A big, beautiful gust in a storm! 

Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tell her they’re the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions–like what it means that she’s falling in love with a girl.

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can’t share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don’t even know she’s there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers’ lives–and her own–for the better.

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This. This book. It’s just so perfect. I barely have words to describe how I felt after reading this.

Ask the Passengers is commonly labeled as an LGBT – which is true, but it is so much more than that. I guarantee, just about everyone will find something they can relate too in this book.

The story follows Astrid as she struggles with the fact she has feelings for a girl. The book is filled with cute, sad and humorous quirks, including the habit Astrid has of sending her love to people on planes, because she is confused about where her love belongs.

I’ll start with characters, because I truly love Astrid. She sometimes comes across as bland and boring, but I believe that is because of the unique way King has written it. This story is literally first person, as if Astrid herself was sitting down and relaying the story to you. In consequence, Astrid gets the attention off herself and makes her less interesting. That’s what most people who don’t want attention on themselves would do. When I realized this bit, it made me love her more.

I feel like the town and family issues were exaggerated, but I also feel like that has part to do with Astrid’s perspective. A.S King shows it to us as Astrid sees it. She focuses attention away from herself, exaggerates her parents and the small town atmosphere and creates imaginary friends. Despite this, It also feels very real – like even though some things are exaggerated, she’s telling you the truth; exactly what happened.

Even though I said that Astrid comes across as bland, she is such an interesting character! She’s smart, for one. High fives for intelligent characters. She idolized philosophers and questions their theories. She even has an imaginary philosopher friend. Her inner voice is intriguing. Her outlook on life and the place she lives is fascinating. She’s so relatable! She is a completely ordinary, teenage girl with family problems and trouble fitting in – even though she doesn’t necessarily want to fit in.

Moving on, I liked the representation of love in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Astrid give her love to the people on the planes, and how her view on this changes as the plot progresses. The story even goes the lengths to include what happens to the passengers she gives her love to. Though it’s slightly cheesy, it was a very acceptable amount of cheese and adds to the beautiful quirks of this book.

Even though I’m not a huge fan of complex metaphors and such; I loved them in this book! Not only did they add to Astrid’s character, but it really changed the overall feel of the book. It’s constantly making you think and question everything, and never has any solid conclusions.

This is such a beautifully written and amazing story. Everyone can relate to this. I’m not an LGBT teen, but I can so easily relate to the issues Astrid brings up. Labelling and boxing people into groups being one of them. So thoughtful, thought provoking, captivating and very, very special. I highly recommend Ask the Passengers!

myrating

storm

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown blows me away!

bii

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown

Genre: Contemporary, YA,

Published: May, 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Format: Paperback 

My Rating: 4 birdies

When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole — a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her — she can’t believe she’s finally found her soul mate . . . someone who truly loves and understands her.

At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her close friend Zack, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all her time with another boy? As the months pass, though, Alex can no longer ignore Cole’s small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats.

As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose “love” she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose — between her “true love” and herself.

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If you read my goodreads comments while reading Bitter End, you would think I absolutely loath this book. But really, I’m sitting on the other end. I adored this book with all its frustrations. My hateful and frustrated comments show others reactions to real accounts of domestic violence. Combined with great characters, inner trauma and sub plots, I was brought on a very emotional journey that I recommend to everyone.

Bitter End used a combo of realism and idealism to really demonstrate the effect of domestic violence. This book covered not only the act itself, but everything such a relationship can effect in a young woman’s life; in school, at home, work and other relationships. I do feel as though some things were over-dramatized or cheesy, though they were in the minority.

An example of idealism to exaggerate the issue is the perfect friendship in the book. Three friends from childhood growing up together, practically inseparable and very close to eachother. It’s idealistic, what we all dream of having but rarely ever happens in real life. Our MC Alex has this, but it is damaged and broken through her abusive relationship with gorgeous Cole. The destruction of a perfect friendship really highlights the extensive effects of domestic violence. Though it makes things a little unrealistic, I enjoyed the exaggerations.

Despite the exaggerations, I thought the story was very real and covered all aspects of an abusive relationship. The whole process from beginning, to end and her recovery (with some minor cheesy moments) was believable.

I also found this book eye-opening. Before now, I’ve always thought that people suffering domestic violence were naïve to their situation. But Alex was very aware of what was happening to her, she was more concerned about ruining her relationship with Cole, because she loved him. She was also more concerned about what people would think of her if they knew, again delaying her from telling anyone.

Aside from the domestic violence aspect, I though the rest of the book was well thought out and the characters well developed. Although, there were quite a few characters in the book, leaving some as no more than names and a face. I loved Alex (even though I cursed her and called her an idiot multiple times) I liked her poetic nature and how this was explored. It got a bit stunted towards the end, though, and I wish the author followed through and drew upon her writing talents in the story. I thought the family situation was a bit much, even though it added to her relationship with Cole. You might as well add the she was also suffering from neglect.

I have no complaints with the writing. The story flowed really well, even though there were time lapses, the writing was easy to read. There were too many characters to fully develop them all, though I feel as though the major ones were covered. Though exaggerated and sometimes cheesy, I found Bitter End to be a very well-rounded, believable story that explores domestic violence extensively, portraying it’s exact effects to a young adolescent.

myrating

justbreezy!

Born by Tara Brown… Unoriginal.

born

Born (Born #1) by Tara Brown

Genre: YA, Dystopia, 

Published: September 2012, by Tara Brown Publishing.

Format: Ebook

My Rating: 2 birdies. 

Emma ran when her daddy told her to. She hid like he said she should. He was the first person she turned her back on. The first one she let die.
Ten years has gone by and she still lives by the simple rules he taught her when she was nine years old.“Don’t help anyone. Don’t go where other people are unless you have to. Trust no one. Always pull the trigger.”Until one night she hears the worst sound in the world, a knock. A simple, timid knock, on the door to her cabin.
Only the voice of the brave little girl, ready to die for her brother, persuades Emma to open the door.
As her fingers turn the lock, she has a terrible feeling she will regret her decision.
But even as regret fills her world, so do love and companionship. Things she never imagined she would ever have again.Everything comes at a cost, you decide what you’ll pay

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Born had a lot of promise, but it didn’t perform for me. To me, this is a very generic dystopia – it’s literally just your basic dystopia setting (crazy plague, natural disasters, warfare and whatnot) with a poorly written plot and undeveloped characters. Unoriginal.

The story follows Emma, who is a survivor that lives on her own with a wolf named Leo. The story starts from when her lonely life is interfered by strangers who are in a similar position she is in. This sets up the rest of the story for her change from uncaring, lonesome Emma to I’m-poster-girl-for-saving-humanity Emma.

The development of Emma is probably the best thing about Born. It is done well. We have a really strong idea about who she is, what she’s been through and how that defines her. We understand that she’s lonely and she begins to crave human contact to point that she creates her own little family of survivors that she cares for, which grows into caring about the life of every single mistreated survivor out there.

Other than this, the story goes downhill. The rest of the characters are poorly developed. I understood the basics of some, but it still left something to be desired. This could be because the book was trying to juggle too many characters at once. Emma’s new “family” grows to the size of a small army, and we are told extensively about each one – pulverizing us with useless information to soak up with nothing to really show us who the characters are.

The romance in Born was awful. I tag insta love on an epic scale. I can see that it was attempted to be realistic and non-insta, but it didn’t pull it off, making it feel too instantaneous for me. You can tell the author tried to make it realistic by there being an initial attraction plus letting the male’s interference let Emma see the joy in life once more. It didn’t work, though. Mainly because we don’t see any of this happen, we were just told so. Plus, there was a love triangle, between two brothers none the less. Ugh. And it didn’t even bother trying to form a connection between Emma and brother number 2 before they were “in love”. It wasn’t done well at all.

To top off poor development and bad romance, the dialogue was beyond cheesy! I hate cheesy, unrealistic dialogue. If two characters can’t speak naturally, then the whole thing has an off, fake feel about it. I felt this every time a character was trying to give an inspirational or emotional talk AND when they were talking normally. Seriously, can you torture me more?

Yes. Yes it can. Not only was the plot poorly written with a totally un-original setting, all the climaxes and action were ruined with way to many “lucky” coincidences. It really is just taking the easy way out of a tricky situation. The same goes with the mysteries in the plot, there always just happens to be someone who knows all the answers in close proximity, at the right time.

If anything could have been improved to make Born just that little more bearable – it definitely would be description. I was so confused as to what was happening at times, simply because there was a distinct lack of imagery.

I did forget to mention the Wolf – I love Leo. Animals in books makes everything better. I honestly think Leo was the only thing keeping me reading to the end of Born. I would describe it as boring, confusing and unoriginal. I think it is a poor example of dystopia and I would not recommend to anyone. Not even younger readers, because there is some heavy content.

myrating

barelyrockstheboat

Sci-fi gone wild in Across the Universe by Beth Revis

9996290Across the Universe (#1) by Beth Revis

Genre: Sci-fi, YA

Format: e-book

Source: I bought my own copy from Sony. 

Rating: 4 birdies

Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the spaceship Godspeed. She has left her boyfriend, friends–and planet–behind to join her parents as a member of Project Ark Ship. Amy and her parents believe they will wake on a new planet, Centauri-Earth, three hundred years in the future. But fifty years before “Godspeed'”s scheduled landing, cryo chamber 42 is mysteriously unplugged, and Amy is violently woken from her frozen slumber.
Someone tried to murder her.
Now, Amy is caught inside an enclosed world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed’s 2,312 passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader. And Elder, Eldest’s rebellious teenage heir, is both fascinated with Amy and eager to discover whether he has what it takes to lead. Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she put her faith in a boy who has never seen life outside the ship’s cold metal walls? All Amy knows is that she and Elder must race to unlock “Godspeed”‘s hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Across the Universe. The romance didn’t meet my expectations, but the world building, the descriptions and the mystery were excellent!

Across the Universe is about a 300 year journey to another life sustaining planet. It has what you expect – people being frozen for value, plus people on board the ship living lives. It follows a girl named Amy, who is frozen along with her parents. The story then fast forwards to the future, where we meet Elder in a strange version of life. This sudden immersion into nearly an entire, unknown culture is startling. Normally, I do not have a problem getting used to new worlds, but this one I had quite a lot of trouble understanding the new terms and realities. I didn’t take long for me to get into it, though I was constantly shocked by the difference of life-on-spacecraft.

Despite not understanding at first, I really liked the detail that went into creating futuristic space life. So much thought went into it that there was absolutely no room for a single plot hole (that I could detect, anyway). This detail went forward into the descriptions; I was always well aware of what the surroundings were in the story and had a clear picture. I also loved the details of things such as the “freezing” of human bodies. It made it feel so real and plausible.

This detail was also found in the characters – I thought all the main characters were well rounded and developed. I loved Amy’s conflicting emotions and confusion. Coming from a world much like ours, I felt as though I could relate to her the most. I definitely understood everything she went through, with being unfrozen too early and being immersed into some really strange world really quickly. Even though Elder was the oddity on the spaceship – being unlike the people around him, I still understood him and I really liked his character. He was flawed and naïve, though smart and more accepting than others on the ship.

The one problem I had was that I didn’t feel any real spark between Amy and Elder. There was a little attraction, though it didn’t make me feel anything. To be fair, there wasn’t a lot of movement in the love department, though the blurb hinted at it enough for me to want more.

Across the Universe included some adultish material that I wasn’t expecting. This was shocking at first, though I came to respect Revis for including it. At first it felt unnecessary,  but as the plot moved along it began to fit and make more sense.

Something else that I loved? The mystery! I felt like we were in a sci-fi murder mystery! Something I haven’t actually come across before. I love guessing in books, and I loved being surprised. I was amazed at how many times I was surprised! There were only a couple of really guessable things.

However, another big thing that let the book down for me a little was some of the revelations and truths of these mysteries. There was some seriously strange behavior going on inside the ship, but when the reason for this came out? It was really unbelievable and almost too “out there”. It seemed like such a huge, extensive and pointless effort. It was complicated – and really, the more simple answers are sometimes better and more effective. I feel like this could have used some more common sense.

Other than feeling off at this point, and being disappointed at the romance, I still really enjoyed reading Across the Universe. I am such a sucker for that great description and detail, and I was honestly hooked from the beginning. So, I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt. Across the Universe can have a rating of four for hitting my weaknesses. However, I do warn younger readers. There are some parts in the book that seemed a bit much for anyone under 18.

myrating

 

justbreezy!