Partials by Dan Wells

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 1.39.11 PM

Partials
Release date: 2012
Author: Dan Wells
Genre: YA Speculative Fiction (Sci-fi)
Themes: Futuristic, Apocalyptic, Prejudice, Artificial Intelligence, Dystopian
Rating: 5 stars
Why did I read it?: Recommended to me

Wells, Dan. Partials. Belzer + Bray, 2012. Print.  
Formats available: Digital, Hardcover, Paperback (amazon.com)


Synopsis (from amazon.com)

For fans of The Hunger GamesBattlestar Galactica, and Blade Runner comes the first book in the Partials Sequence, a fast-paced, action-packed, and riveting sci-fi teen series, by acclaimed author Dan Wells.

Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. But sixteen-year-old Kira is determined to find a solution. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that that the survival of both humans and Partials rests in her attempts to answer questions about the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.

Playing on our curiosity of and fascination with the complete collapse of civilization, Partials is, at its heart, a story of survival, one that explores the individual narratives and complex relationships of those left behind, both humans and Partials alike—and of the way in which the concept of what is right and wrong in this world is greatly dependent on one’s own point of view.

Supports the Common Core State Standards


My Thoughts:
It seems almost every YA sci-fi book is heralded as being for “fans of The Hunger Games,” which makes many of us, rightly, suspicious. After all, The Hunger Games was a surprisingly fantastic addition to the YA Dystopian genre. So, when Partials was recommended to me via Goodreads.com, I was naturally suspicious. However, after I watched the book trailer (see below), I knew I had to read this book. Go ahead and watch the trailer right now.

Ok, are you back? Do you see what I mean? It has a GREAT hook.

And I’m happy to say the book delivered on its promise. This is the first book in the trilogy (all three are out now) and it grabbed me right away. It has everything I like: mystery, high-stakes, scientific experiments, and end-of-the-world consequences. Also, there is a pervasive undercurrent of morality, bias, racism, and a questioning of what it means to be “human.” This is a fantastic read for sci-fi junkies, fans of apocalypse stories, and those who like to read about how mankind’s obsession with technology might effect us in the future. It you enjoy Artificial Intelligence and robots who take on a life of their own, this might also catch your fancy. Plenty of excitement, mystery, tension, and enough “will they, won’t they” romance to please most readers.

Personal note: I loved this one, its a great story that also gives you some wonderful discussion and thinking topics of human nature.

 


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next book in the series is called Fragments by Dan Wells.

In the meantime you might like to try:


Extras:

  • Partials book trailer

About the Author:
Dan Wells writes in a variety of genres, from dark humor to science fiction to supernatural thriller. Learn more on his website.

(ARC Review) Starflight by Melissa Landers

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 8.01.13 PMStarflight
Release date: Feb. 2, 2016
Author: Melissa Landers
Genre: YA Speculative Fiction (Sci-fi)
Themes: Space-travel, trust, forgiveness, love, friendship
Rating: 4 stars
Why did I read it?: I read the author’s Alienated series and loved it, so I requested this ARC.

Landers, Melissa. Starflight. Disney-Hyperion, 2016. Print. ISBN-13: 978-1484723241.
Formats available: hardcover. Paperback $13.49 (amazon.com)


Synopsis (from amazon.com)

Solara Brooks needs a fresh start, someplace where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. The outer realm may be lawless, but
it’s not like the law has ever been on her side.
Still, off-world travel doesn’t come cheap; Solara is left with no choice but to indenture herself in exchange for passage to the outer realm. She just wishes it could have been to anyone besides Doran Spaulding, the rich, pretty-boy quarterback who made her life miserable in school.
The tables suddenly turn when Doran is framed for conspiracy on Earth, and Solara cons him into playing the role of her servant on board the Banshee, a ship manned by an eccentric crew with their own secrets. Given the price on both Doran and Solara’s heads, it may just be the safest place in the universe.
It’s been a long time since Solara has believed in anyone, and Doran is the last person she expected to trust. But when the Banshee’s dangerous enemies catch up with them, Solara and Doran must come together to protect the ship that has become their home-and the eccentric crew that feels like family.

My Thoughts:
**I received this book as a free egalley from netgalley.com in return for an honest review**

The author describes this book as a “romantic Firefly, or Guardians of the Galaxy” and I think thats a fair statement. Starflight is a fun and fast YA romp through space. Written from the dual perspectives of the male and female main characters, we see these two people who grew up in vastly different social strata (and who butted heads throughout high school) forced together on a perilous race across galaxies. Both are hiding secrets from the other, and neither trusts each other, and yet Doran and Solara will find they need to rely on each other to overcome enemies new and old. Together they find that sometimes you put your trust in the wrong people, and sometimes you are forced to rely on those you don’t trust at all.

I enjoyed this book, though I never really connected to Solara as a character. I felt that Doran was a more strongly developed and fully realized character than Solara, and just didn’t feel the author put an equal amount of time in developing Solara as she did Doran. I actually found myself connecting with his feelings, fears, and character arc more than Solara’s, which I found unusual ini a YA book as usually the female character tends to be the more fully developed of the two. The world building was pretty good, we’re given just enough understanding of how this world (or worlds, really) work that I’m intrigued to learn more about it in the following books (this is the first book in a planned series). There are several other characters introduced which were interesting and fun, though very under-developed thus far. But I believe that is intentional, as the following books feature those people as main characters, I believe, therefore it seems we are not meant to “get to know them” too much in this book.

The pacing is pretty good, a tad bit jumpy here and there, and several of the plot devices felt a bit “expected,” but there are a couple of twists in there to keep it from being stale, and overall I found this to be a satisfying space-travel story. I will absolutely pick up the sequel to see what happens next, whenever it should be released!


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
There is a planned sequel to Starflight, but no title or release date has been provided yet!

In the meantime you might like to try:


Extras:

  • Melissa Lander’s Starflight series website
  • This book is still months away from being released so I’m hoping more extras will be coming soon!

About the Author:
Melissa Landers is a YA author who often writes fun and fast-paced alien or space-travel romances.

Find her online:

Waiting on Wednesday – 1/6 – The Crown’s Game

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 8.46.25 PM

Waiting on Wednesday is brought to us by Breaking the Spine.

Its a weekly meme where we can share the upcoming releases we are so excited about!


 

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 12.00.52 PM.png

The Crown’s Game
by: Evelyn Skye
Release date: May 17, 2016

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.


Why am I waiting on it?

Um…did you read that synopsis? It sounds like a mix of hunger games, throne of glass, and a bunch of other books I love. As long as its story is original (and not actually a compilation of these other popular books) I foresee this being an excellent fantasy book! I’m hopeful the story will be as good as its synopsis makes it sound (or better!), and cannot wait to give it a try.

Waiting on Wednesday 12/16 – The Shadow Queen

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 8.46.25 PM

Waiting on Wednesday is brought to us by Breaking the Spine.

Its a weekly meme where we can share the upcoming releases we are so excited about!


Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 11.56.00 AM

The Shadow Queen
by: C.J. Redwine
Release date: Feb 23, 2016

Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.


Why am I waiting on it?

Basically…the cover! Oh, and the title. And its a fairy-tale retelling (which   I love). So really the better question would be, why wouldn’t I be waiting on this book!?! The title grabbed me and the cover drew me right in. I think this books sounds like it could be excellent! I cannot wait until February to give it a try 🙂

Waiting on Wednesday 12/9- Reign of Shadows

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 8.46.25 PM

Waiting on Wednesday is brought to us by Breaking the Spine.

Its a weekly meme where we can share the upcoming releases we are so excited about!


Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 11.52.26 AM.png

Reign of Shadows
by: Sophie Jordan
Release date: February 9, 2016

Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadows is Sophie Jordan at her best


Why am I waiting on it?

Its a fairy-tale retelling of rupunzel (it sounds like), so obviously I need to read this book! Plus its a star-crossed romance, and I admit to being a sucker for a good Romeo-Juliet-esque tale. I think this one sounds pretty cool!

(Ya Review) Their Fractured Light by Kaufman & Spooner (No Spoilers)

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 1.23.30 PMTheir Fractured Light
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Released: December 1, 2016
Publisher:Disney-Hyperion
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Romance
Rating: 5/5 stars +++
Why’d I read it?:
I have been looking forward to this book since I read the first one in the series earlier in the year. This book is the 3rd and final installment in the Starbound Trilogy.

 


Synopsis: Please note the synopsis includes minor spoilers for the first two books in the series!

A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now-infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness LaRoux Industries’ corruption. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were the only survivors of the Icarus shipwreck, forced to live a double life after their rescue.
Now, at the center of the galaxy on Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players in the fight against LRI.
Gideon Marchant is an underworld hacker known as the Knave of Hearts, ready to climb and abseil his way past the best security measures on the planet to expose LRI’s atrocities. Sofia Quinn, charming con artist, can work her way into any stronghold without missing a beat. When a foiled attempt to infiltrate LRI Headquarters forces them into a fragile alliance, it’s impossible to know who’s playing whom–and whether they can ever learn to trust each other.
With their lives, loves, and loyalties at stake, only by joining forces with the Icarus survivors and Avon’s protectors do they stand a chance of taking down the most powerful corporation in the galaxy—before LRI’s secrets destroy them all.
The New York Times best-selling Starbound trilogy comes to a close with this dazzling final installment about the power of courage and hope in humanity’s darkest hour.

My Thoughts:

Their Fractured Light is a thrilling and lovable conclusion to a one of a kind, and totally “out of this world” trilogy!

Love it, love it, love it, love it. Looooovvvee it!

Ok, now that I’ve gotten the fangirling out of my system I can move to the actual review. First it must be said that I absolutely adored the first book in the series, These Broken Stars. Everything from the cover down to the last word of that book just thrilled me (see my review here). I also thoroughly enjoyed the second book, This Shattered World. So I have been highly looking forward to this book’s release. In fact I even went so far as to beg the Disney-Hyperion marketing rep to please please please send me an ARC, which is when they sadly had to inform me that they were not sending out ARCs of this book at all. And so I waited. And waited. And on its release day I bought the book.

I was not disappointed. 

This was a book worth waiting for. This series has something special that I don’t often find in YA books. It just has that special combination of factors that perfectly make an excellent, epic, and really beautiful story. One of the things I love about this trilogy is that each book features a different set of main characters (one girl, one boy). While each book is, in a way, a standalone sci-fi romance, when read together they read like an epic, high-stakes, interstellar mystery. I just love the originality of the storytelling. Additionally the authors have a phenomenal way of playing with gender norms so that each set of characters feels completely unique and fully developed. All six of our heroes and heroines are their own individual character.

Their Fractured Light is the conclusion of the trilogy and it is SO GOOD! I’ve found a lot of YA trilogies either lose their steam, or the story has gotten completely off track by the 3rd book. But this book is almost as good as the first one in the series (nothing could beat These Broken Stars, in my mind). The characters are different than what we’ve seen so far, and I love how their first meeting starts out with plenty of action and plot twists right out of the gate. I wasn’t sure I was in the mood to read when I started the book, but after about 3 paragraphs I was utterly hooked. Plenty of romance, drama, action, twists (a lot of them!), and sci-fi adventures await you in this book. And we also get to spend more time with Tarver, Lilac, Lee, and Flynn.

This book is one of the best trilogy conclusions I’ve read. It delivers both a wonderful standalone story (Sofie and Gideons), and a thrilling series finale! It fully delivers on plot twists, both fun and heart-wrenching, and skillfully brings us to an emotional and yet satisfying end. Things didn’t end quite the way I expected, and yet the authors managed to convince me it was the perfect way to end. Wow can these authors tell a story! I cannot gush enough about how beautiful, captivating, and thrilling these books are. I urge you to try them if you haven’t yet!


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it? 
The previous books in the series are These Broken StarsThis Shattered World

If this is your kind of story, I’d personally recommend:

Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 1.25.25 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-25 at 9.37.57 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-26 at 1.25.44 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-26 at 1.41.27 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 6.31.50 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-13 at 1.27.50 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-28 at 6.27.23 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-25 at 9.14.38 PM


About the Authors: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner are the authors of the Starbound Series. Their style is a bit unique, because the books are told from the dual perspectives of both main characters. Amie writes all the chapters that are narrated by one character, while Meagan writes all the chapters narrated by the other character. Both authors have books they write individually as well.

 

Waiting on Wednesday 12/2 – Truthwitch

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 8.46.25 PM

Waiting on Wednesday is brought to us by Breaking the Spine.

Its a weekly meme where we can share the upcoming releases we are so excited about!


Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 11.28.33 AM

Truthwitch
by: Susan Dennard
Release date: January 5, 2016

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.


Why am I waiting on it?

When I heard about this book, the title sucked me in and ever since I’ve been really eager to read it. I like that its about witches, specifically, as thats a little bit different than a lot of the books I’ve been reading lately. I just think this one sounds like it could be really great! Plus I love when books include the themes of “truth and lies,” which it sounds like this one does.

Waiting on Wednesday 11/25 – The Impostor Queen

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 8.46.25 PM

Waiting on Wednesday is brought to us by Breaking the Spine.

Its a weekly meme where we can share the upcoming releases we are so excited about!


Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 11.26.23 AM

The Impostor Queen
by: Sarah Fine
Release date: Jan 5, 2016

Sixteen-year-old Elli was a small child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic. Since then, Elli has lived in the temple, surrounded by luxury and tutored by magical priests, as she prepares for the day when the Valtia perishes and the magic finds a new home in her. Elli is destined to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, the home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between the love she has for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must align with the right side—before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.


Why am I waiting on it?

Ooo doesn’t this book just sound soooo good? I think so and I’m so excited that it comes out in early January. So I don’t even have that long to wait for it (yay!).

(YA Review) The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace

Screen Shot 2015-11-17 at 10.25.12 AMThe Storyspinner
Author: Becky Wallace
Published: March 3, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Romance
Rating: 3.75
Why’d I read it?:
According to the synopsis, this book has all of the elements I like; fantasy, action, multiple perspectives, with a dash of romance.
Wallace, Becky. The Storyspinner. Margaret K. McElderry. 2015. Print.


Synopsis: (from goodreads)

Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.

In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything


My Thoughts:

I chose this book because it sounded like it would have all of the elements I enjoy in a book; fantasy, action, multiple perspectives, romance, etc. And it did. For some reason I just never quite clicked with the story the way I usually do, but I have to be fair and say that at the time I was reading this I had a lot of family and personal troubles occurring as well, and I’m afraid it significantly affected my state of mind while reading the book. It’s highly possible that at another time I would have clicked with this story more, because as I said, it truly has all the elements I enjoy in a book.

Nevertheless the premise of the story is quite original, and I LOVE the beginning(ish) scene. The way the two main characters meet is hysterical, and is quite unlike the usual way. It really demonstrates major aspects of both of their personalities, as well. Its a great “meet cute.” The cast of characters gets pretty extensive, and basically the story follows two different groups of people. Throughout the story its unclear right away how the two groups’ stories will intersect, but eventually that becomes more clear. So overall I’d say that if you enjoy fantasy stories such as this, you may want to give The Storyspinner a try.

 


Extras:

 


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
You might also enjoy:

So, Sorcerer’s Stone & Chamber of Secrets are the exact same book

Ok, I was watching Chamber of Secrets last night, and it occurred to me that Chamber of Secrets basically repeats the entire basic plot of Sorcerer’s Stone. Watch this.


 

The Dursley’s lock Harry in somewhere in the house

  1. Closet under the stairs
  2. Smallest bedroom

 

Harry believes something about the school that no one else believes.

  1. That the Sorcerer’s Stone is there and Snape is trying to get it
  2. That there is a voice that only he can hear, and it’s petrifying people

 

Hagrid brings a terrifying pet into the school

  1. Fluffy and Norbert
  2. Aragog

 

Malfoy and Harry duel

  1. Malfoy invites Harry to a duel (its a fake invite though)
  2. Malfoy and Harry duel in the dueling club

 

Harry keeps secrets from Dumbledore which, if he’d been honest about, would have negated the need for his crazy dangerous exploits

  1. Doesn’t tell Dumbledore his suspicions
  2. Lies about hearing voices

 

Harry goes into the Forrest and is recued by a random “creature”

  1. Rescued by the centaur
  2. rescued by the car

 

Dumbledore leaves the school at a critical point in the story

  1. Dumbledore is “called away” at the end of the book
  2. Dumbledore is stripped of his duties by Mr. Malfoy and the school board

Hagrid's_hut_with_visitors_Malfoy_Fudge_Dumbledore.jpg

 

Hermione completely saves the day

  1. too many to list
  2. too many to list

 

Harry sneaks under the school with his friends, only to be separated from them so that he ends up facing voldemort on his own at the end.

  1. Gets past Fluffy, Ron gets hurt in chess and Ron & Hermione can’t go with harry to the end confrontation with Voldemort.
  2. Harry and Ron go under the school, Ron causes a cave in that separates him from Harry, causing Harry to have to go confront Voldemort on his own.

 

Story ends with Harry and Dumbledore talking philosophically (and dumbledore being vague)


See? Basically the same story, two different times. I’ve literally read these books easily dozens of times and never realized this until now!

Can you think of any that I missed?