Monday, November 24, 2014

Review: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

From Goodreads: Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met. Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents. Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion. Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

My Rating: 4.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: After unexpectedly falling in love with Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner’s These Broken Stars last year, I had high hopes for its companion novel, This Shattered World. Fortunately, This Shattered World lived up to my expectations. In fact, I actually liked it even more than These Broken Stars!

A huge reason why would be because of the characterization of Jubilee and Flynn as individuals. While it took me some time to like Tarver in These Broken Stars, I liked both Jubilee and Flynn right from the start because Jubilee was this tough soldier with a surprising amount of vulnerability whereas Flynn was a charming rebel who wanted to create change through peaceful means (unlike his fellow rebels).

Though they’re on opposite sides of a war, Jubilee and Flynn learn to trust each other over time, and become allies. There was so much chemistry between them, and I loved the romance because it was slow and believable (although the attraction was there from the beginning). Authors, this is how you write a romance!

In terms of the plot, we get to see LaRoux Industries’ effects on another planet, which eventually causes Lilac and Tarver to be dragged into the conflict on Avon. So, we get to see what they’re up to as well :) 

A fantastic companion novel, This Shattered World will be released on December 23, 2014 by Disney-Hyperion. I can’t wait to travel to Corinth in the next book and see Roderick LaRoux get what he deserves! 

Comments About the Cover: It's similar to the cover of These Broken Stars, but I like that one better. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Disney Book Group) for free via NetGalley.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Review: The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

From Goodreads: Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl - a suffragist - in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

My Rating: 4 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Much like her debut, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, Cat Winters’ sophomore novel, The Cure for Dreaming, is a great blend of paranormal and historical fiction that’s written in such a way that you’re transported to the time period of its setting.

The year is 1900 and change is in the air in Portland, Oregon as women fight for their right to vote alongside men. One of these suffragists is our narrator, Olivia, whose father is very much against the idea of women entering the domain of politics. As a result, he hires a hypnotist to cure Olivia of her dreams of becoming an equal to a man in any way. Thankfully, Henri Reverie, does not share the same opinions as Mr. Mead, and rather than letting Olivia see the world the way it should be, he lets her see it the way it is. Although I’m sceptical about hypnotism, I did find the public and private sessions of hypnotism fascinating, and would have like more factual information about it at the end of The Cure for Dreaming.

I also liked Winters’ ability to make me care for or hate her characters. For example, I loathed Olivia’s father for his extremely controlling nature, and am very grateful that dentistry is no longer the way it used to be because having Mr. Mead as your dentist … *shudders*. On the other hand, I fully supported the romance between Henri and Olivia because Olivia finds a true partner in Henri.  

A book that reminds you not to take your rights for granted, The Cure for Dreaming was released in October 2014 by Amulet Books.  

Comments About the Cover: It’s intriguing because of how the girl is positioned. I’d definitely want to learn more about the book if I saw this cover in a bookstore. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (ABRAMS) for free via Netgalley. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

From Goodreads: Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser. Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George. Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

My Rating: 3 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Not having had much time to read lately and feeling stressed from the massive pile of assignments I have due over the course of this month, I decided to read Julie Kagawa's Talon because it promised dragons and a forbidden romance. Unfortunately, Talon didn’t turn out as I expected because the dragons in the story were generally masquerading as humans. 

Although I originally had no problems with Ember and her brother, Dante, pretending to be humans in order to learn how to blend in, I eventually got bored of reading about Ember surfing, making friends, checking out guys at the beach, and drinking smoothies. You’d barely know Ember was a dragon if it wasn’t for her occasional whiny thought about not being able to fly or her freedom being restricted by Talon.

Speaking of Talon, Kagawa hardly tells you anything about it as an organization other than that it’s bad. The conflict with the Order of St. George is also overly simplified because you’re only told that Talon and the Order have been fighting each other for generations because humans hate dragons. There was just so little worldbuilding in this novel!

The romance was problematic too because there was a love triangle, with Ember being attracted to both Garret, a member of the Order of St. George, and Riley, a rogue dragon. While I don’t particularly care who Ember ends up with, I thought it should have been very obvious to her that Garret wasn’t just an average guy spending his summer on the beach. I also thought that Garret fell quite quickly for Ember, especially considering that he always suspected that she was most likely a dragon.

Talon was released by Harlequin Teen in October 2014. 

Comments About the Cover: It’s simple, but so visually appealing!