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review 2017-04-12 14:28
Review: The Edge of Everything
The Edge of Everything - Jeff Giles

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I think this was something I requested on a whim. It was quite some time ago, I remember only glancing at the synopsis on Netgalley. Admittedly I went into this one remembering nothing on what it was about. I had it in my mind for some reason it was a dystopian.

 

I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. Starts off with teen Zoe at home at the start of a snow storm looking for her younger brother who’s gone out to play with their two dogs. But he doesn’t appear to be answering her calls to come inside before the storm really gets going. The storm is getting worse by the minute so Zoe goes out looking for him. During her search Zoe stumbles into the path of nasty piece of work Stan who is robbing their neighbour’s house. The neighbours having died recently. The confrontation is bad. Warning – Stan really hurts the two dogs. It’s brutal and unpleasant.

 

Zoe and her brother are rescued by a mysterious figure who arrives and kicks the crap out of Stan. The mysterious benefactor is hell bent on destroying Stan for his evil deeds and seems to have some sort of superpowers. But of course nothing goes quite so smoothly. Not once he starts actually interacting with Zoe.

 

The figure, who later becomes known as X has come from a sort of hell dimension known as The Lowlands and is a bounty hunter sent to reap souls of evil doers. Stan is his target. Though Zoe’s interaction with him is brief, he learns something of mercy. Which sets in motion a big ass chain of events.

 

X has very little concept of how to interact with Zoe. Not completing his mission has left him in dire-straights and great pain until the job is done. He collapses in a nearby house –which just happens to be Zoe’s. With the help of Zoe, her mom and her younger brother they help X pull himself together.

X’s dialogue is quite stilted and almost boarding on cheesy, but there’s something quite fascinating about how he copes with Zoe. He’s grown up in this hell dimension with only other damaged souls to guide him, so has very little sense of morality or anything.

 

While Zoe is your average teenager – she lives with her mom and younger brother and is struggling to cope with the recent death of her father. Zoe’s mom is one of the more likeable, believable adults of YA fiction. She’s involved without being over the top involved, and seems to know when to back off. The mom has some secrets which come out later on in the novel, while it’s not of the pleasant nature, it’s doesn’t actually make her any less likeable as a character, I thought the twists added dimension and believability to the mom character.

 

Zoe herself is an immensely likeable character, there was something delightful about the way she was written that made me as a reader connect with her immediately. I liked her tone of voice and her dialogue.

 

She handled the increasingly weird situation very well. Her relationship with X grows, and as they became equality fascinated and enamoured with each other can be described as instalovey, although the novel is so well written and both characters are so interesting – it’s instalove but instalove that actually works.

 

And they’re both smart enough to know there will be consequences for their actions. X has to deal with the Lowlands and the consequences of revealing his secrets and not completing his mission. There appears to be a hierarchy of demons or “Lords” who are the rulers and X has royally pissed off one of the worst who is determined to make an example of him. This particular Lord is a real asshole and his actions and dialogue is so over the top in the vain of I’m so evil and you’re so crap and you must suffer because I say so. It’s almost like a cartoon villain and kind of ridiculous but at the same time kind of amusing in a weird way.

 

Zoe learns some uncomfortable truths about her father’s past and certain things she was never meant to know. It’s quite emotional. Her dad was a caver and taught her how, and there’s an incredibly moving scene where she goes caving with a friend as a result of some of the secrets she learns. Exceptinonally moving and very tense in parts.

 

A wonderful mix of action and romance, a very unique plot and not at all what I was expecting. I really loved this one.  I loved this one so much I bought a finished hardback.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ).

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review 2016-09-09 11:20
DNF: The Loneliness of Distant Beings
The Loneliness of Distant Beings - Kate ... The Loneliness of Distant Beings - Kate Ling

I received a copy from Netgalley.

Something I snagged with auto approval from Hatchette Children's Books on Netgalley. I'm not that fond of sci-fi books, they're often a hit or a miss for me. Sometimes I like them, sometimes I don't. Unfortunately this title was a miss for me. I gave it 100 pages, but I'm so bored with this book the thought of reading more makes me cringe and my eyes roll.

It's an interesting idea, Seren lives on a spaceship as part of a special mission group of people that's flying out of our solar system to find a new place for people to live, downside is it will take seven hundred plus years to go there. The people who live on the ship follow a set pattern plan and everything is determined for them by a system that's gone on for many many years. Education - two years of manual labour then a speciality. And a computer will tell you who you will marry and procreate with. It's all done by science, no need for romance and no one particularly cares if you don't like the person you're chosen to be with.

Seren hates her life. She's bored out her brains, moody and sulky. Given the circumstances, it's sort of understandable. However, she was so boring, had such a lack of personality and her everything sucks, dismissive of everything and everyone around her got very tiring very quickly. She hates the life partner chosen for her. She thinks her older sister who's happy with her match and her life partner is an idiot. Basically everyone's stupid but her is the impression I got. Then she meets Domingo at the doctor's office one day and he's the best looking thing she has ever seen and just like that she's madly madly in love with him after they spend one afternoon. She's willing to now break every rule she's ever learned to spend time with this guy. Who may have feelings for her but doesn't quite know.

It was a case of insta-love that in this occasion just didn't work for me. I don't like the characters at all, I don't have any desire to know how this all works out. Not for me.

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review 2016-07-20 11:30
Review: The Thousandth Floor
The Thousandth Floor - Katharine McGee

Review: The Thousandth Floor

 

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

There are some books you know you are going to love right from the first chapter. For me, this was one of those books. Rich people drama is a guilty pleasure of mine (even though I loathe reality TV). Though this is just what that book read like. I would love to see this book as a TV show. It’s one of those weird things where you don’t actually like most of the characters much but can’t stop watching things.

 

This book is basically Gossip Girl of the future. A host of pretty people drama who live on the upper tower floors, the Highliers, and the downTower people who they get involved with. A fairly large cast of delightfully diverse characters from both the upper tower and the down tower falls, all of whom wind up interacting with each other.

 

It starts off with a bang, some unknown girl falling from the top of the tower. And then the rest of the book flips back to the beginning to get to that point. Initially I thought it was fairly obvious once all the different characters were introduced, but as the novel went on and the plots and characters became deeper and twister, several times I found myself thinking, even when things were going smoothly, at some point this is all going to go hideously hideously wrong. I thought I had it all figured out a few times, but the end was completely surprising. Never saw it coming.

 

Each chapter is from a different character’s point of view. There’s your Highliers - Avery who lives on the very top floor genetically engineered to be perfect and beautiful and appears to have everything she could ever want, expect the one boy she loves desperately but can never have. Avery’s adopted brother Atlas, who disappeared for a year and has just returned out of the blue. Avery’s best friend Leda, who’s hiding a summer stint in rehab due to a designer drug addiction. Leda’s struggling to get back to normal and hide her secret from her friends. Leda’s very dry cut snarky boarding on bitchy. With a secret fling with Atlas to hide and feelings to figure out on where that’s going. Along with Eris who finds out a major family scandal which throws her whole world into chaos. Though not without relationship drama of her own.  Along with party thrower Cord. And a few other background friend type characters.

 

From downTower there’s computer genius hacker Watt who’s actually a really nice guy but has some brilliant technology in the form of some sort of super computer chip which he’s had illegally grafted to his frontal lobe (or something along those lines), Rylin who’s solely responsible for her younger sister after the death of their mother, struggling to make ends meet.

 

This book gets big bonus points for character diversity, and an f/f relationship.

 

All the characters find themselves interacting at some point, and each one of them is considerably deeper than their first impressions give. Each one managed to surprise me by the end of the book by their actions or their emotions as their plots changed and grew. Brilliant character depth. The futuristic technology was equally fascinating, and the setting of Manhattan 100 years into the future is visual, striking and believable as well.

 

Great twist at the end too.

 

I loved this one. I need more. NOW!

 

Thank you Netgalley and HarperCollins UK, Children' for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2016-07-05 11:33
Review: The Outliers
The Outliers - Kimberly McCreight

 I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I can’t remember what it was that caught my eye about this title. It was on my wishlist for a while, so when I saw it pop up on Netgalley, I took a chance and figured what the hell. I’d give it a shot. I’d already seen Goodreads reviews pop up and the ones from the blogs and reviewers I follow were a mix, some loved it, some hated it.

 

Unfortunately, I was in the hated it group. Well, I didn’t actually hate it, I didn’t like it much. It was stupid – but in a this is so stupid why the hell am I still reading this – what’s going to happen next? I need to know! Kind of way.

 

The whole thing was ludicrous convoluted mess. It starts with Wylie struggling to get over the death of her mother. Her twin brother whom she doesn’t really get on with is a genius and not very helpful, her dad is some sort of research scientist who works with emotional perceptions. Wylie has terrible anxiety, hasn’t left the house in months. Her dad and her doctor are trying to convince her it’s time to get back to things and go back to school and help the healing process and moving on with her life.

 

Wylie is grumpy, moody and not having any of it. Then her former BFF’s Cassie’s mom turns up asking if Wylie has heard from Cassie. Cassie and mom had a huge fight and Cassie’s been MIA ever since. Wylie and Cassie have sort of stopped speaking, Cassie’s become involved with the popular kids at school who are into partying and drinking, Cassie’s dating a guy, Jasper, who Wylie dislikes intensely (even though she’s never met the guy, she’s just going on rumours and what she perceives his attitude to be from seeing him around high school). While the parents are talking Wylie texts Cassie and gets a worrying response.

 

So while the parents go and look around town for Cassie, Wylie is home alone and Jasper shows up at Wylie’s house, Cassie sends more cryptic texts. And next thing we know, even though she doesn’t like him or trust him in the slightest, Wylie and Jasper are gathering supplies and heading off to find Cassie as per her text instructions.

 

Bear in mind Wylie hasn’t left the house in months, can’t deal with people at the best of times, and the reader learns has fallen out with Cassie and they’re not even really friends anymore. In one way it’s kind of admirable that even though things have gone south in the friendship Wylie can put aside the problems that have kept her housebound to the best she can and go off to find her former BFF on very little words.

 

On the other hand the grown up in me is rolling my eyes and their stupidity. They don’t tell anyone, other than leaving a note for Wylie’s dad telling him not to worry. Of course her dad is going to fucking worry! She’s not left the house in months and she’s going off with some guy she barely knows for a girl she’s not even been speaking to and she’s expecting all the grownups involved to just be okay with this?!?!?!?!

 

So off Wylie and Jasper go on a road trip through winter in New Hampshire at night without telling anyone and only the barest of info from Cassie’s texts to go on. And things rapidly go downhill from there.  Car trouble, help from people who turn out to be dangerous, when the police finally get involved, they’re not interested in helping, Cassie’s cryptic texts get more and more alarming. Wylie’s dad is worried and furious and has told Wylie her doctor has called the police and if Wylie is caught he will have her committed which makes Wylie pissed off.

 

Though it turns out Jasper’s not as bad as she thinks he is. He’s actually the more sensible of the two of them, and a pretty decent guy. Wylie is a whiny pain in the ass. Though she does seem to get her head around the danger they are in and at least at one point is smart enough to protect herself with a sharp knife and do some damage.

 

So the novel progresses on the search for Cassie as one thing after another goes wrong. Despite the utter stupidity of the plot, it is actually quite compelling. As I said earlier, even though it’s stupid, you still find yourself wanting to know what the hell is going on and why is this happening. Where is Cassie?

 

The explanations are some convoluted nonsense to do with covert special ops groups wanting Wylie’s scientist Dad’s research. Something to do with people with extra sensory abilities. Which of course tie massively into Wylie. Cassie has secrets of her own. Everyone’s got twisty secrets and nothing is as it seems. And just when you think it’s going to be okay…warning bells go off when mysterious agents claiming to be from Homeland Security appear, and...there’s a big ass cliffhanger and that’s the end.

 

And even though I loathed Wylie and Cassie, I will probably find myself wanting to read the next one.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK Children’s for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2016-03-18 02:41
Othello retold....
Onyx: A YA SciFi Retelling of Othello - Alicia Michaels

WOW, what a retelling Alicia did for Othello... Set in the future, 3015 to be exact, planet Earth is no more & humans are searching the universe for a new home, exploration leading to wars. Onyx is a product of a war against the humans, the last of his kind he just wants acceptance, named the youngest major in the human army, still trying to fit in, he's only solace is his wife Dia. When Onyx's ensign starts whispering secrets in his ears, a web of lies, friends & enemies become hard to point out.....

Oh my, did I cry, but loved every minute of this read.

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