Thu, February 6, 2014

Alienated by Melissa Landers Review

Alienated book cover

Alienated book cover

Alienated
By Melissa Landers
Publication date: Feb. 4, 2014
Disney Hyperion, 352 pages
Source: Publisher

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

— Goodreads.com description

Who would have thought a book could get me SERIOUSLY rooting for interspecies romance?! And, ick, you pervs — no, I don’t mean that weird dino-porn book that was in the news a few months ago.

I mean Alienated by Melissa Landers! Dudes, I read this in one sitting. So. Freaking. Entertaining.

So, here’s the story. It’s a little bit in the future and intelligent lifeforms have made contact with Earth. They’re essentially highly evolved humans, and they help Earthlings cure cancer…but might have some ulterior motives. They decide to do an interplanetary exchange.

Alien Aelyx comes to live with Human Cara and, c’mon, you just saw the romance coming. But who cares! It was really nicely paced and steamy and so much fun to read.

The story is suspenseful, deliciously angsty — in the good tension-y way you root for, not in the way you roll your eyes at — and really surprisingly layered. Alienated isn’t afraid to bring up some big-picture themes of persecution, acceptance, kindness, sticking to your guns, friendship and prejudice.

Okay, sure, there were little things like: Wouldn’t there be more security? More followers on Cara’s blog? Some government PR person censoring what she wrote? But, okay, it’s an alien story, so it’s not like I can fault it for being unrealistic!

If you liked the show Roswell or the Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout, you’ll need to check this out. If you’re a romance in sci-fi fan, you’ll love it.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: aliens, melissa landers, romance, science fiction
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Mon, January 20, 2014

Cress by Marissa Meyer Review

Cress book cover

Cress book cover

Cress
By Marissa Meyer
Publication date: Feb. 4, 2014
Feiwel & Friends, 560 pages
Source: Publisher

Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

— Goodreads.com description

Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicle’s series is one of my absolute favorites, and the third book, Cress, only helped lock in its spot on my favorites shelf. It’s really good, you guys.

There was so much tension and adventure in Cress that I felt like I was on the edge of my seat from start to finish.

Plus, it’s the first book where you feel like all your favorites finally come together and unite against the baddies. It’s all starting to fall into place – which makes you really appreciate all the setup Meyer did in the earlier books but you couldn’t quite grasp until now. It’s all beautifully done.

I loved Cress herself — I don’t think you can read this book and not picture her as a real-life version of Disney’s Rapunzel cartoon. She’s perfect.

And the book set things up soooo perfectly for Winter, the fourth and final book of the series, set to come out in 2015. Yes, 2015. SO FAR FROM NOW!

If you guys haven’t started this series (starts with Cinder, then goes on to Scarlet), you really need to. I think it’s a must-read in YA at the moment.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: fairy tale, marissa meyer, romance, science fiction
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Thu, January 9, 2014

Erased by Jennifer Rush Review

Erased book cover

Erased book cover

Erased (Altered #2)
By Jennifer Rush
Publication date: Jan. 7, 2014
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 288 pages
Source: Publisher

They thought they had escaped. They were wrong.

After fleeing the Branch with Sam, Cas, and Nick, Anna is trying to make sense of the memories resurfacing from her old life. At the same time, she’s learning how to survive in hiding, following Sam’s rules: Don’t draw attention to yourself. Always carry a weapon. Know your surroundings. Watch your back.

Then a figure from Anna’s childhood reappears. Is it a Branch setup, or could it be the reunion Anna has hoped for? Uncertain of where her loyalties lie, Anna must fight to learn the truth — before she is betrayed again. Ultimately, the answers hinge on one question: What was the real reason her memories were erased?

Jennifer Rush delivers a thrilling sequel to Altered in a novel packed with mysteries, lies, and surprises that are sure to keep readers guessing until the last page is turned.

— Goodreads.com description

Ooh, I like this series. Okay, so granted it’s a little emo (which I called out in my review of Altered), but it’s totally legit and tolerable emo and the action-packed plot makes up for it.

I read Altered at the beginning of the year, so my memory of the story was pretty hazy. Jennifer Rush does an excellent job of bringing the reader up to speed and then moving things along quickly.

The best part of this sequel, for me, was how quickly my trust and allegiances as a reader changed. Is what we thought about each of the characters true? Who can Anna trust? Loooooove that feeling of not knowing where things are going to go.

Fans of the first book will enjoy this one, and if you haven’t read the first yet, definitely give it a go. Truly, overlook the cover (which I think is super cheeseball) — it’s a really great government conspiracy/sci-fi read.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: conspiracy, jennifer rush, science fiction
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Thu, January 2, 2014

Control by Lydia Kang Review

Controlbook cover

Control book cover

Control
By Lydia Kang
Publication date: Dec. 26, 2013
Dial Books for Young Readers, 400 pages
Source: Publisher

An un-putdownable thriller for fans of Uglies

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

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

— Goodreads.com description

Wow, this book was such a pleasant surprise.

I don’t know why it surprised me — perhaps because the description compared it to Uglies, which I never loved? Control by Lydia Kang is WAY better.

Zelia, her sister and her dad live in a high-tech dystopian society. When her dad is killed in a suspicious accident and Zelia is separated from her sister, she’s taken to live in a supersecret foster home for “special” kids. “Special” meaning a boy who has four arms, a girl who has green, plant-like skin, etc. — very X-Men-ish. It’s got plenty of action, lies and betrayal, tons of science-fiction and OMG romance.

Yes, you know I’m a sucker for that. It’s a “I hate you, no I love you!” romance too, which is always fun.

I particularly enjoyed how science geeky this book was — lots of DNA and genetic talk that was over my head, but intrigued me nonetheless.

My only complaint? There were bits of the ending that I couldn’t quite follow, even after going back a few pages and rereading. Still, I stayed up till midnight to finish this one and truly enjoyed it. You should definitely put it on your wish lists!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: dystopian, lydia kang, science fiction
6

Mon, November 11, 2013

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars book cover

These Broken Stars book cover

These Broken Stars
By Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Publication date: Dec. 10, 2013
Disney Hyperion, 384 pages
Source: Publisher

It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

— Goodreads.com description

I loved this book. Like, LOVED. These Broken Stars is the best sci-fi book I’ve read in ages.

The start of the book reminded me of Titanic: A big fancy ship. An underdog boy and a rich girl. Stolen glances. Flirting. BUT IN OUTER SPACE.

Yeah, guys, Titanic in outer space. Does that not just blow your mind? I was a bit giddy as I read.

Anyway, then the ship crashes and it’s another one of my favorite things: A survival story! Meagan Spooner knows I love this because that was my favorite part of her book Skylark. There’s something about survival stories and how romance buds when two people are struggling to get by and only have each other to relay on and OMG I can’t even.

These Broken Stars is a magical story that you’re going to fall in love with. I think it’s going to be one of my favorites of 2013, and will be one of yours, too, if you’re into sci-fi. Read it and let me know if you feel the same!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: I hear there are companion novels to come! That is sooooo For Darkness Shows the Stars and I am PUMPED.

Posted by: Anna   •   In: aliens, amie kaufman, meagan spooner, romance, science fiction
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