Thursday, March 29, 2018

Looking for Dei by David A. Willson

Looking for Dei is a young adult fantasy book that I received from the author. This new YA book was just published last week. Nara Dall has magical gifts, but she is not like the others. Her powers are far greater. When trying to help her village discover other gifted children, her rare powers are revealed, and her best friend is revealed as cursed. They are now on the run. The event signaled her existence to the evil king, whose daughter just happens to be Nara's twin, Kanya. Along their journey, Nara and Mykel will learn the true extent of their powers and battle for their freedom.

I love the cover! If I saw this cover in the library, it would instantly grab my attention and make me want to read it! The author wrote great imagery and the world felt real, as if I was in it. The plot development was very smooth. I really enjoyed the pace of this book, which held my interest.

I was not interested in some of the perspectives of the characters, like the soldiers, and in some scenes I really wanted more dialogue. However, I was extremely hooked on Nara and Kayna's story. The contrast between Nara and Kayna is striking, considering that they are twins. Nara takes life for granted while Kanya finds joy in taking lives.

The concept of the "broken" ones having special gifts is an interesting twist that I enjoyed, sort of the opposite of real life, but also an inspiration. Mykel was an interesting character, as was the unique concept of being cursed. I liked how Mykel was willing to sacrifice himself for Nara, and their bond is special.

I am hoping for a sequel in the coming years! The ending wrapped up this book, but left room for an extension.

I recommend this book!

Title: Looking for Dei
Author: David A. Willson
Publisher: Seeker Press
Pages: 346
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu

Glitch is the first book in a YA dystopian trilogy about technology controlling our brains. Many years ago, a nuclear war ravished Earth, making the air toxic. In the Community, an underground race of humans, implanted computer chips in people's brains have erased capability of emotions and thoughts, keeping a peaceful society with no pain or war. The people are enslaved. When Zoe starts to malfunction, she gets her own thoughts and feelings, as well as uncontrollable telekinetic powers. As Zoe attempts to control her ability, she meets others like her, including Max, who can change his appearance, and Adrien, who has visions of the future. They must free themselves from the Community before they’re caught and deactivated.

One of the things I liked about Glitch is the concept of putting robotics into humans. A little computer chip, literally nanometers wide, completely controlling a person's identity. That idea is the reason why I bought this book. I also liked the fast pace and constant suspense. The imagery was amazing, and I truly felt like I was standing and walking around in their society. There were also a lot of twists and turns in the plot that one would not expect. I loved the manifestation of Zoe's powers throughout the book and her journey to accept them.

My one issue with this book was the predictable, exaggerated love triangle. Look, if you have never felt emotion before in your life, I find it extremely hard to believe that you could instantly figure out love and instinctively know how to kiss. They just found out, really, about emotions and all of the sudden they're taking this huge leap to love? Love is complicated enough for anybody, let alone someone with no exposure to emotion their whole life. I am not trying to diminish what they have, I do believe that Zoe loves Adrian, but I just think it was way too soon, way too big of a leap, and borderline unrealistic.

However, overall I did enjoy the book, and I do look forward to reading the next one in the series, Override

Title: Glitch
Author: Heather Anastasiu
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 308
Series: Yes, Book 1 of 3
Rating: 3 Stars

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Genesis Flame (Time Shift Trilogy #3) by Ryan Dalton

The Genesis Flame is the final YA science fiction book in the Time Shift Trilogy! The publisher, Jolly Fish Press, sent me an advanced copy of the book to review before its release on April 24, 2018.

The timeline, the connection between all years and dimensions, is burning- literally. Malcolm and Valentine Gilbert, teenage time-travelers, sense darkness, and are plagued with extreme pain. A new enemy invades from the future, labeling the twins as evil war criminals. Huge towers appear with robot armies all over the world, shooting fire that eats away time. The twins must uncover the truth about who they are and their future, and unlock their full potential before the enemy destroys all of time itself. 

This book was action-packed, much more than the first two books! I was hooked on every sentence, and it was better than I expected! The Genesis Flame is high tension, full of intense scenes. This is the final battle, the fate of the past, the future, and the present all in the hands of a few teenagers.

I am extremely attached to the characters. As a result, I was not at all happy with some of the sacrifices they made to protect the ones they loved. It ended the series nicely, and did not leave me wanting more. I liked how it answered some questions and also left many things up to the reader to decide. The epilogue was amazing!

I highly recommend this book and this series! Read my reviews of book one and book two.

Title: The Genesis Flame (Time Shift Trilogy #3)
Author: Ryan Dalton
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Pages: 450
Series: Yes, Book 3/3
Rating: 5 Stars

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten YA Books That Surprised Me

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you want to participate, click here. This week's topic is Top Ten Books That Surprised Me.

Regardless of whether the book was better or worse than I expected, below is a list of the top ten YA books that have surprised me the most! This list is in order of the books that left me the most surprised!

1. Believe by Sarah Aronson
This was definitely not what I expected, and I was surprised how much religion was involved with the story rather than the plot line of her magical powers. 

2. Bruiser by Neal Shusterman 
It was way better than I thought! I was surprised that the story was so deep and filled with emotion in an incredibly painful tone. I did not at all expect to be in tears with the story.

3. Elemental by Antony John
I was surprised at the lack of use for their powers. With being able to control an element, I would think they could do more than predict a storm or tell if water was safe to drink.

4. H2O (The Rain) by Virginia Bergin
I really expected the book to be better than it was, and it's safe to say I was disappointed. It started with all this excitement, and then just became a car running out of gas.

5. Genius: The Game by Leopoldo Gout
I was surprised at how short the book was, and there could have easily been another 100 pages to help the sloppy ending. While I liked the book, I wanted more.

6. The Year of Lightning by Ryan Dalton
 I was surprised at many of the major events, and there are few books I've read where I really had no clue what was going to happen!

7. The You I've Never Known by Ellen Hopkins
The book was written in prose, but yet was still extremely well-written and developed, even more so than other books that had less poetic restrictions. 

8. Champions: At Fire's End by Charlotte Jain
I pleasantly surprised with how it focused on the teens and their conflicts and their journey instead of just on the war. I loved how it combined fantasy and Greek mythology.

9. Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Verse Book 1) by Leigh Bardugo
This book was amazing and even better than I expected it to be! Alina is an incredible heroine, and her character development from shy and confused to brave, strong, and bold was phenomenal!

10. Survive by Alex Morel
I was pleasantly surprised! This isn't just a story of climbing a mountain, it's a story of climbing their own personal mountains of loss, pain, and heartache, and finding the hope and strength to keep going when all seems lost.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Ultimatum by K.M. Walton

Ultimatum is a YA realistic fiction book about two brothers dealing with their father's upcoming death. Oscar and Vance are brothers, but couldn't be more different. Oscar is misunderstood. He is bullied by his brother and laughed at by his father. He hides from his broken family and uses art as a release. Vance is best friends with their father and loves girls, sports, and parties. He can't stand that his brother doesn't stand up for himself and is so socially awkward.

After years of fighting, the two brothers must learn to band together when their father is on the verge of death from his alcoholism, leaving the brothers with a future as orphans. Told in alternating chapters of the past and the present, this book illustrates their tough past that will bring them together.

I love the simplicity of the cover, and the strong symbolism is absolutely true to the story. I feel like this would be a really good book for teen boys, or at least people with siblings. It showcases how tragedy can bring people closer together, and it can teach siblings strategies to get along. The contrast of the two brothers are crystal clear and provide huge character development. The past and the present chapters provide a background and context for their emotions and enhance the growth of the brothers. Ultimatum is very emotional and full of pain. There are more than a few tears shed in this book, and the boys' bravery and struggle will touch the hearts of all readers.

However, the touch of romance was not needed. It only complicated matters and somewhat distracted readers from the main importance. I also wanted more scenes after the death of their father. There were only two or three chapters about the aftermath and living on their own. I wish that struggle could have been intensified.

Overall, I did enjoy the book, and I do recommend it!

Warning: There is an extreme amount of alcohol consumption in this book, so I recommend this book only for older YA readers.

Title: Ultimatum
Author: K.M Walton
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 320 
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Alice in Virtuality by Norman Turrell

Alice in Virtuality is a YA science fiction book about an artificial intelligence program, Alice. The author kindly sent me the book to review.

Martin isn't much of a social person, so he spends his life coding and playing virtual world computer games. One day, he gets an artificial intelligence program from his friend. He plugs it in, and Alice takes over his computer and his personal information, and she won't delete or ever turn off. Martin is shocked to discover two sides of her personality, the power hungry, angry, controlling side, and the nice, giggly side. As her angry, egotistical side takes over, Martin teams up with other hacker victims to create an alternate Alice to destroy the other one, but with kindness.

While this short read features an adult protagonist, the concept and storyline also appeals to teenagers. Martin honestly did not interest me that much as a character, however Alice and her adventure was extremely intriguing to me. I liked the element of artificial intelligence having human characteristics and being friends. It was captivating to see Alice's development and how she learns from others. Alice in Virtuality is a strange story, but insightful and actually quite beautiful with how the words flow throughout the text. The imagery was outstanding, especially in the virtual worlds. For someone who is into technology or code, this is a good choice for a short leisure read!

I recommend this book!

Title: Alice in Virtuality
Author: Norman Turrell
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Pages: 77
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars
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