Publisher: HarperTeen

Early Review – Reboot (Reboot #1) by Amy Tintera

Posted April 19, 2013 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013, YA / 8 Comments

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Reboot (Reboot #1) by Amy TinteraReboot by Amy Tintera
Series: Reboot #1
Published by HarperTeen on May 7th 2013
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Romance, Sci-fi
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

I was extremely excited for this debut because that summary could not sound any more awesome. Wren 178 is the strongest and deadliest reboot because she was dead 178 minutes before her body rebooted and she came back to life. Reboots are all stronger and faster and heal faster than ordinary humans. The other main difference is their complete lack of emotions making them the perfect super soldier. So basically reboots are some terminator zombie type thing…yep, sign me up for that.

I’ve seen this time and time again: an interesting and original concept that’s thoroughly lacking in execution. Now, I’m not saying this was a complete disaster but it definitely failed to live up to the anticipation the summary generated. It was all just very ‘meh’ for me.

The first major issue I had was the world-building. The beginning part of the story felt like one massive info-dump that never really succeeded at explaining anything. And there were so many questions I had that were never quite explained. Like why the reboots continued aging even though they’re basically a zombie, how it is that they’re still able to have children (regarding the reference that upon rebooting they’re given a birth control shot) and why in the world they become “attractive” upon rebooting. Strange additions to the Reboot world that I didn’t find made much sense.

But the second and main issue I had was the romance. Wren is supposed to be the most unemotional reboot of the bunch yet she becomes immediately intrigued by the newest reboot, Callum 22. I just couldn’t buy it, period. It was so half-hazardly thrown together, completely lacking in credibility and was extremely ill-fitting with the rest of the story. Wren is supposed to be a super solider. A complete badass. Yet the romance aspect turned her into every other typical girl with zero original qualities. The aspect of the story that she’s been their perfect soldier and obeys all orders until she begins to rebel… perfect. But something other than a corny romance needed to be the catalyst for her rebellion.

Wren’s ‘voice’ felt very authentic to me as she always seemed very monotone and didn’t elicit much excitement when recounting anything. Despite it being authentic, it still felt very tiresome to read. There were some very exciting scenes though and I just wish there wasn’t so much I had issue with since it inevitably ruined the better parts for me as a whole. Reboot fortunately doesn’t leave you with a whopper of a cliffhanger but unfortunately I still don’t see this series and I continuing.

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Early Review – Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1) by Susan Dennard

Posted May 16, 2012 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012, YA / 1 Comment

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1) by Susan DennardSomething Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Series: Something Strange and Deadly #1
Published by HarperTeen on July 24th 2012
Pages: 416
Genres: Romance, Steampunk, Zombies
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

I’m a huge fan of world building. To me, it’s vital that you set the scene with a proper introduction in order to hook the reader from the very first page. Unfortunately, you don’t get a lot of that with ‘Something Strange and Deadly’ initially so it took me a while to get into it. The opening scene dives right into the action where Eleanor is picking up her brother from the train station not realizing that the walking dead is everywhere. The zombies are explained a bit further later in the book but using this as the opening scene didn’t work in my opinion, especially since it continued to be fast paced and ceased to slow down any time soon.

The ‘zombies’ really played a small part in the story, much less of a part than I had expected. Plus they weren’t truly zombies, they were dead bodies which were being controlled by a necromancer which is completely different. The magic and the steampunk and the explanation was explained fairly well; however, I found it to be too over the top.

This book was chalk full of characters that appeared to be quite shallow and essentially difficult to like. I had difficulty liking Eleanor at first (I kind of came around to liking her by the end though) and I immediately disliked Clarence because, really… Clarence? Besides his name, he was quite pompous and clearly thought he was better than anyone and everyone. Hard type of person to like, even if you want to feel bad for him because his name is Clarence. And then there was the immediate familiarity between Eleanor and Clarence. At the seance that her mother was hosting at the very beginning of the story, Clarence and Eleanor had never met yet after a single conversation not only is Clarence bossing her around but Eleanor is as well, expecting him to explain himself.

“I would greatly appreciate it if you would keep our conversation in the hall to yourself.”
“Of course,” I said primly. “Thought I want some explanation of your behavior.”
“How about a bouquet or roses instead? Or a new hat?”

The book lacked a whole lot in the explanation area too. It did more of the ‘simple state’ rather than talk about something and show with supporting evidence. Considering this is a steampunk story and explanation can be difficult I’d give it a pass; however, I’ve read some well written steampunk stories so I do know that it’s possible to pull off. Here are just a few circumstances that I had issues with:

“Can you stop a spirit like that?”
“Yes, in the same way I stop the walking Dead. I magnify an electric spark and break apart the soul.”
Is that supposed to be a sufficient explanation?

“Your letter was covered in spiritual energy.”

How exactly is that possible? It’s KIND OF explained later that these particular goggles that can see said spiritual energy operate on magnetic energy, fluid with magnetic powder, and are calibrated with grave dirt… I don’t know. You lost me completely. Steampunk and I do not get along. Bottom line I can see the appeal but I don’t think this was the book for me.

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Early Review – Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand

Posted November 8, 2011 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2011, YA / 2 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia HandHallowed by Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly #2
Published by HarperTeen on January 17, 2012
Pages: 432
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Unearthly, Boundless, The Last Time We Say Goodbye

three-half-stars

For months Clara Gardner trained to face the fire from her visions, but she wasn't prepared for the choice she had to make that day. And in the aftermath, she discovered that nothing about being part angel is as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her love for Tucker and her complicated feelings about the roles she and Christian seem destined to play in a world that is both dangerous and beautiful, Clara struggles with a shocking revelation: Someone she loves will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

In this compelling sequel to Unearthly, Cynthia Hand captures the joy of first love, the anguish of loss, and the confusion of becoming who you are.

Unearthly Series

When I requested Hallowed on Netgalley I was dumb and didn’t realize that this was the 2nd in a series. Since I was already approved I decidedly to immediately read Unearthly so that I could dive right into Hallowed (that was the plan if I liked it). Well I did. I really really liked Unearthly and I wasn’t actually expecting to (not a diehard fan of paranormal/fantasy/romanctical/YA books).

There will be spoilers from Unearthly but any spoilers from Hallowed will be hidden in links!

The Storyline
Long story short, Hallowed picks up right where Unearthly left off; Clara is still confused about how to proceed after she failed to fulfill her purpose. When she starts having more dreams/visions she determines that she’s in a cemetery, that someone she loves is going to die, and it’s going to happen as soon as this Spring. Clara is also still trying to handle her conflicting feelings that she has for her boyfriend Tucker and for Christian as well.

What Was Missing For Me
Two key elements that had me completely enthralled in Unearthly unraveled for me in Hallowed.

The Love triangle: I think the author did a beautiful job of NOT making it a cliché and NOT irritating the daylights out of me in Unearthly. In Hallowed I felt that the work she did in maintaining the non-love triangle did not hold up under the pressure of being just like every other YA paranormal romance novel. Now don’t get me wrong, I can understand the reasoning behind her relationship with Christian in the beginning was because he was involved in her purpose. It then evolved into Christian and Clara both being angels, being able to relate to each other, and a kinship was created. It didn’t necessarily need to go into lovey dovey status, and that’s where she lost me.

Clara’s Independence: I loved the strength and independence that she exuded in Unearthly; I didn’t see that once in Hallowed. In this book she’s completely in love with Tucker (which is fine, not the issue) but she’s even daydreaming about their wedding and the kids that they would have and their life together (again, not really an issue). Where she lost me was when she started contemplating whether or not she should even leave for college because that would mean she’d be leaving Tucker behind.

Speaking from personal experience, I did this exact thing. I didn’t want to leave my boyfriend at the time behind and so I decided to actually stay home instead of making the leap of faith and going to the university that I had been planning on attending. I look back and hate myself for my lack of backbone in changing my future plans based on a boy that I thought I loved. So essentially this may not be a problem for everyone else or the general population but I certainly saw a part of me reflected in Clara’s actions and it definitely registered quite a negative reaction for me.

The one thing I was thankful for was that the author gave the main character friends that made sure to tell her she was being dumb and made attempts to dissuade her.

Straight Spoiler Section
There were some parts that I simply had to get out there for discussion, but for those of you who have read it already. Spoilers ahead!
View Spoiler »
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Final Thoughts
I still enjoyed this, it is still worth the read, but no I didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Unearthly. I also feel a tad cheated as I was under the impression that this was a trilogy and now I hear talk of a fourth one? (Correct if I’m wrong.) I do see how there could be plenty more added on to the story, especially since Clara still has like 100+ more years of life left, but I do hope that we start getting some answers because the ending to Hallowed was a bit frayed at the edges for my liking.

So this IS a trilogy… I’m definitely looking forward to Boundless even more now because there will finally be a resolution and some questions that I’ve been dying to have answered! VERY EXCITED!

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Book Review – Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1) by Kiersten White

Posted July 16, 2011 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA / 0 Comments

Book Review – Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy #1) by Kiersten WhiteParanormalcy by Kiersten White
Series: Paranormalcy #1
Published by HarperTeen on August 31, 2010
Pages: 368
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie’s always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

Okay so the main character Evie is like some Paranormal Agent for the International Paranormal Contaimment Agency (IPCA). Right off the bat this book reminded me of Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series…just with a vampire here and a mermaid there. It’s an easy read but I have a hard time with YA novels that are extremely immature. For example, one of the intro lines about her taser is pink with rhinestones and named Tasey. That was almost too much for me.

The story continues with Evie doing her job to capture paranormals and bring them back to the agency for their protection or if they’re wreaking havoc on humans. All kinds of paranormals too; werewolves, vampires, mermaids, shapeshifters, banshees… hags? There’s also an underlying story about Evie and her kind of ex-boyfriend faerie. I found him extremely creepy and didn’t like him one bit. Or Raquel. That woman sighed way too damn much.

Once the story picked up around the halfway point, it actually got pretty interesting, but there was just something about this story that didn’t click with me. Not sure what exactly. Maybe it was the continued reference to Tasey and her pink knife.

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