Review: "Free to Fall" by Lauren Miller

18500665~o~Rating~o~
4 tp

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

What if there was an app that told you what song to listen to, what coffee to order, who to date, even what to do with your life—an app that could ensure your complete and utter happiness?

What if you never had to fail or make a wrong choice?

What if you never had to fall?

Fast-forward to a time when Apple and Google have been replaced by Gnosis, a monolith corporation that has developed the most life-changing technology to ever hit the market: Lux, an app that flawlessly optimizes decision making for the best personal results.

Just like everyone else, sixteen-year-old Rory Vaughn knows the key to a happy, healthy life is following what Lux recommends. When she’s accepted to the elite boarding school Theden Academy, her future happiness seems all the more assured. But once on campus, something feels wrong beneath the polished surface of her prestigious dream school.

Then she meets North, a handsome townie who doesn’t use Lux, and begins to fall for him and his outsider way of life. Soon, Rory is going against Lux’s recommendations, listening instead to the inner voice that everyone has been taught to ignore — a choice that leads her to uncover a truth neither she nor the world ever saw coming.

~o~Review~o~

This book pleasantly surprised me. Judging by the title and synopsis, I was sure it would be another YA romance taking place in the future to assign itself the sci/fi genre. What I found was a gripping story of an intelligent protagonist unraveling the mysterious past of her mother. To my immense relief, the romance didn’t take over the plot and what was there was relevant to the story. And it’s not often you find a Young Adult sci/fi standalone these days.

The concept of this world is fantastic and slightly eerie because I can definitely see our world turning into a completely technology dependent one. The way people are turning to their phones every two minutes, we are already headed there. While reading this book in the lunchroom in school, I would look up every few minutes and see most of the student body glued to their phones at all times. And seeing how there is an app for almost everything, we are not far from creating a decision making app that makes your decisions for you.

I’m not giving it five stars because I wasn’t a big fan of the character interactions. Rory’s relationship with both Hershey and North could have been developed a lot more.

~o~SPOILER ALERT~o~

Even though he was barely in there, Beck was the character I liked the most. He thought for himself (very unlike Rory in the beginning). I was devastated when Rory met him at the Gnosis place and he had transformed into this submissive Lux user. A big part of the reason I was rooting for Rory to be successful was to get Beck back to normal.

Even though the solar flare was completely coincidental and a little too convenient with its timing, I really liked the ending.

Review: “Fairest” by Marissa Meyer

~o~Rating~o~
4 tp

Warning: Fairest is a spin-off of the Lunar Chronicles series. The review contains spoilers for the original series. 

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

~o~Review~o~

Being inside the mind of Queen Levana, easily one of my most hated YA villains, was definitely intriguing. I couldn’t help but sympathize with her a little. It was nice seeing her background. Don’t get me wrong though, I would still rejoice if anyone from the Lunar Chronicles gang kills her.

Levana grew up as a lonely princess. Without any friends, neglected by her parents and constantly threatened by her older sister, the future queen. She also felt the need to constantly hide herself with her glamour because of her “ugly” face. It’s easy to see why she would be so bitter.

And it was also interesting to learn more about Levana’s step-daughter princess Winter. I’m very excited for Winter the fourth book of the Lunar Chronicles.

Review: “What’s Left of Me” by Kat Zhang

What's Left of Me~o~Rating~o~
4 tp

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

I should not exist. But I do.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

~o~Review~o~

This was one of those books I just randomly picked up from the public library not expecting much from it. I was very pleasantly surprised. What’s Left of Me was very impressive for a book I hadn’t previously heard about.

This story takes place in a world where every person is born with two souls. One of these souls usually “faded” away by the person was around six years old. The people whose souls did not fade were known as hybrids. The main character was a hybrid; both her souls remained in her body though Addie was more dominant than Eva. It was a different experience reading from the point of view of one character who was really two people. I thought Kat Zhang did a wonderful job portraying the two souls.

I’m really looking forward to the next two books in the trilogy. I think these books just might make their way to my favorite shelf.

~o~SPOILER ALERT~o~
 
I’m giving it four stars because of the lack of explanation when it came to the hybrids. Why were people hybrids? Or is this just an alternative universe? Hopefully the sequels will explain better. I’m excited to see where this goes.

Review: “Winger” by Andrew Smith

~o~Rating~o~
4 tp

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids in the Pacific Northwest. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

Filled with hand-drawn info-graphics and illustrations and told in a pitch-perfect voice, this realistic depiction of a teen’s experience strikes an exceptional balance of hilarious and heartbreaking.

~o~Review~o~

Winger is not the usual type of book I pick up but since it was getting so popular in the YA world, I decided to give it a try. I can honestly say I did not expect to like it as much as I did. It’s about a guy named Ryan Dean who goes to a rich kid private school and plays rugby. I usually don’t expect much of books with a private school setting because they’re so overdone, especially ones where the main character is very involved with a sport (not being a sports person myself), but this book surprised me. Yes, it does have those cliché breaking-the-rules-at-midnight scenes and getting-in-fights-with-the-other-teams scenes but there were also many parts that genuinely interested me.

This book is a coming of age story. Ryan Dean is a high school junior at only fourteen years old who is tired of being considered a child, especially by one of his best friends Annie who he’s hopelessly in love with. This was a little like another one of those out-of-place-in-high-school-student-rooting-for-one-of-the-most-popular-kids kind of book, and it was but it was more too. Winger is funny, very touching at times, and the ending punches you in the heart.

~o~SPOILER ALERT~o~
 
All I can say is that I did NOT expect that ending. Joey was by far my favorite character and I loved watching Joey’s and Ryan Dean’s friendships develop through the book. It had been a while since I cried at a character’s death (as in cried with actual tears) and Joey’s death was completely unexpected, to me at-least.

I liked the friendship aspect of the story more than the romantic aspect. I did like Annie though and I was rooting for Ryan Dean and Annie but I wasn’t as interested with them as a couple as I usually am in other books.

Up until the last few chapters, I was going to give the book 3 stars but it’s getting four stars because of that killer ending (though I would much rather have Joey living than dead). I think it shows how your life can turn upside down at a single event and how having people you love around you can make a big difference.

 

Review: "The Infinite Sea" by Rick Yancey

16131484~o~Rating~o~
4 tp

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

~o~Review~o~

Wow. This book was intense. Just wow. The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey is full of action and adventure, very thought provoking and some of the plot twists completely blew my mind. After loving The Fifth Wave so much, I was apprehensive about this sequel, thought I shouldn’t have been. Though I did not enjoy is as much as I did the first book, it was still mind boggling.

Not many things happen in the first few parts. We get to witness the characters plan and see how they interact with one another. Mostly, the first parts just build up to the climax scene. Some passages in this book made me think twice about humanity and what one human is capable of.

~o~SPOILER ALERT~o~

My new favorite character= Ringer. In the first book, I really did not like her. At first she seemed haughty and arrogant but she shined in this book. The last whole chunk of this book was through her point of view. She’s analytical and she’s quick on her feet. I’m guessing that’s why Vosch chose her as his experiment for the 12th system (a program that “enhances” humans).

I was actually quite annoyed at Cassie in the beginning because she seemed to be whining way too much. Reading her POV was starting to frustrate me and I was glad when the perspectives changed. I did love that her and Evan reunited though. Those two really deserve it. We didn’t get to see as much Evan as I wanted to but the scenes with him were satisfying enough; he did die almost a hundred times and was pretty much at the brink of death throughout the whole book.

A moment of silence for poor Teacup and poor Poundcake, children of war. Rest in peace.

Grace’s character confused me so much. She’s another “alien” who knew Evan before the Waves. Evan says something about a mothership coming to get her. So… why? Is she special? Didn’t seem like it. Hopefully, Ringer will beat the sense out of her and then throw her to Mars. Let’s see how she likes it then, telling Cassie that Sam is dead. How dare she?!?!

The plot twist at the end surprised the Hades out of me. Ringer realizes that there are no aliens, the aliens were NEVER THERE.

“It’s a… a program, a delusional construct. Inserted into their minds before they were born, switched on when they reached puberty- a lie, it’s a lie. They’re human.”

THE ALIENS AREN’T REAL!! Which means it were the humans all along, right? Right? Was this just a plan to demolish the present human race and create a mutated and more evolved species? So everyone who thinks they are aliens aren’t really aliens? Is my life a lie?

The next book better get here quick.