Friday, October 9, 2015

Hungry by HA Swain

Genre:  YA Dystopian

Description (taken from HA Swain's website):
In Thalia’s world, there is no more food and no need for food, as everyone takes medication to ward off hunger. Her parents both work for the company that developed the drugs society consumes to quell any food cravings, and they live a life of privilege as a result. When Thalia meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that there is an entire world outside her own. She also starts to feel hunger, and so does the boy. Are the meds no longer working?

Together, they set out to find the only thing that will quell their hunger: real food. It’s a journey that will change everything Thalia thought she knew. But can a “privy” like her ever truly be part of a revolution?

Thalia Apple lives in a world where there are no more animals nor plants.  One World has created a nutritional drink called Synthamil that everyone takes for nutrition.  The leading scientists have modified our genes so no one is ever hungry.  And Synthamil is free for everyone to have.  But when Thalia wakes up with her stomach growling, she begins to understand hunger.

Thalia has always been the oddball looking for relics and not always enjoying the linked-in technology that everyone else has.  When she meets a boy who helps her smell food from the past, she finds there's a resistance against One World and how they distribute Synthamil.  What she thought was a truly perfect society really has a dark secret that keeps them in business.  And when she becomes hungry, she finds Synthamil isn't enough to sate her curiosity and hunger.

This book was absolutely not what I was expecting.  I mean the first half and learning about the world she lives in was expected.  When Thalia discovers the truth and begins to revolt: all expected.  Even the boy that drove me absolutely bonkers was expected.  But about half way through the book when it could have ended or have been continued with another novel, everything slammed the brakes and took a different turn.  One I really didn't care for.  And as much as I tried to like this novel, I felt like it had way too much stuff going on which made it kind of chaotic and long.

This has a very good story going, but I didn't think highly of the execution of it.  I'd suggest readers check out other reviews before deciding whether or not to read this one.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Hotel Ruby by Suzanne Young

Genre:  YA Mystery/Contemporary/Horror
Expected publication date:  November 3, 2015

Description (taken from Suzanne Young's website):
"Stay tonight. Stay forever."

When Audrey Casella arrives for an unplanned stay at the grand Hotel Ruby, she's grateful for the detour. Just months after their mother's death, Audrey and her brother, Daniel, are on their way to live with their grandmother, dumped on the doorstep of a DNA-matched stranger because their father is drowning in his grief.

Audrey and her family only plan to stay the night, but life in the Ruby can be intoxicating, extending their stay as it provides endless distractions--including handsome guest Elias Lange, who sends Audrey's pulse racing. However, the hotel proves to be as strange as it is beautiful. Nightly fancy affairs in the ballroom are invitation only, and Audrey seems to be the one guest who doesn't have an invite. Instead, she joins the hotel staff on the rooftop, catching whispers about the hotel's dark past.

The more Audrey learns about the new people she's met, the more her curiosity grows. She's torn in different directions--the pull of her past with its overwhelming loss, the promise of a future that holds little joy, and an in-between in a place that is so much more than it seems...

Welcome to the Ruby.

Audrey's father is taking her and her brother across state lines to live with their grandmother.  It seems no one is able to deal with the grief from losing a loved one in this family.  And in the middle of the road trip, Audrey's father takes them to the Hotel Ruby.  An intoxicating and inviting hotel smack-dab in the middle of nowhere.  But once they check in, will they ever want to leave?

Before going to her room, Audrey decides to explore the amenities of the hotel.  She meets a guest named Elias who offers to show her around.  But when night turns to day, she realizes something is a little off in this place.  And as more guests talk about the invitation-only event that happens every night, Audrey begins to wonder why she's the only one who's not invited.  And as her father continues to extend their stay, she wonders if they'll ever be able to leave the Ruby.

I had this pegged from the beginning.  And this one's a tough one to describe because I don't want to give it all away even though it's at the tip of my tongue.  This story just builds off of a web of lies and dreams, and it all captivates you.  The only thing that kind of haunts me is the ending.  I'm not sure I liked that.  It's definitely one I'm going to be thinking about for a while.

This book is a definite for Suzanne Young fans.  And if you haven't picked up her books yet, this would be a good mystery for you.

Thanks goes to Around the World ARC Tours for providing me a review copy.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Deadfall by Anna Carey

Genre YA Detective
Blackbird Duology, Book 2

Note:  This is the second book in a series.  Anything below might slightly spoil plots from the first one.

Description (taken from Anna Carey's website):
A week ago, you woke up in Los Angeles with no memory of who you are. The only thing you knew: people are trying to kill you. You put your trust in Ben, but he betrayed you and broke your heart. Now you've escaped to New York City with a boy names Rafe, who says he remembers you from before. But the two of you are not safe. The same people who are after you are tailing Rafe as well. As the chase heats up, your memory starts to return, but your past cannot save you from the terrifying circumstances of your present, or from the fact that one wrong move could end this game forever.

This book picks up right where the first one left off.  Sunny has been betrayed by Ben, who she was once falling for. And now she's in a train station trying to figure out where she should go next when she meets the boy from her dreams.  And he knows her name.

Rafe knows so much from her past, but she's not so sure she can trust him.  And as they head to New York, they find other kids like them.  Kids with targets on their backs.  And when Ben mysteriously shows up again with new information, Sunny isn't so sure who she should be trusting.  But as time lines begin to thin and pressure rises, all of these kids will run the risk of losing the game.

This series is definitely unique with the fact that it's all written in second person.  It's as if you are living as the main character and going through the events in her shoes.  And while I think adding the love triangle was a little cheesy and obvious to figure out, I still enjoyed going through the story.  Yes, it's a little outlandish, and I don't really think teenagers could outsmart a much older and richer group of adults.  But what do I know?  I've never played a game where my life is literally on the line.

I think this series is definitely a love it or hate it series.  And since the books aren't really that long, I'm going to recommend you read both books before giving a final judgment on them.  They might catch your interest...

Monday, September 14, 2015

Giveaway: A Fistful of Fire by Rebecca Chastain

If you haven't heard of this series yet, check it out.  The second book is coming out soon (both books displayed below).

A Fistful of Fire 
     by Rebecca Chastain
Genre:  Adult Urban Fantasy
Madison Fox, Illuminant Enforcer Series,
     Book 2
Expected publication date:
     October 10, 2015

Madison Fox survived her first week as California’s newest illuminant enforcer, defending her region against imps, vervet, hounds, and one lascivious demon. If her grumpy boss, Mr. Pitt, was impressed, he hasn’t told Madison. In fact, there’s a lot her boss has been closemouthed about, including the dark secret haunting his past.

But Madison’s problems are just igniting. Neighboring regions report an uncharacteristic flare-up of evil, fire-breathing salamanders blaze unchecked across the city, and Black Friday looms. Trapped doing cleanup amid mobs of holiday shoppers, Madison watches from the sidelines as dubious allies insinuate themselves in her region.

As suspicions kindle and the mysterious evil gains strength, Madison must determine who she can trust—and whose rules to follow—before her region and career go up in flames.

Sizzling with adventure and sparking with magic, A Fistful of Fire is fused with Madison Fox’s trademark blend of humor and ass-kicking action.

A Fistful of Evil 
     by Rebecca Chastain
Genre:  Adult Urban Fantasy
Madison Fox, Illuminant Enforcer Series,
     Book 1

Description (taken from promo email):
Madison Fox just learned that her ability to see souls is more than a sight: It’s a weapon for fighting evil. The only problem is she doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing.

About the Author
Rebecca Chastain is the International Amazon Fantasy Bestselling author of A FISTFUL OF EVIL and MAGIC OF THE GARGOYLES. She has found seven four-leaf clovers to date, won a purebred Arabian horse in a drawing, and once tamed a blackbird for a day. Dreaming up the absurd and writing stories designed to amuse and entertain has been her passion since she was eleven years old. She lives in northern California with her wonderful husband and two bossy cats.


Mindwalker by AJ Steiger

Genre:  YA Dystopian
Mindwalker Series, Book 1

Description (taken from AJ Steiger's website):
At seventeen, Lain Fisher has already aced the Institute's elite training program for Mindwalkers, therapists who use a direct neural link to erase a patient's traumatic memories. A prodigy and the daughter of a renowned scientist-whose unexplained death left her alone in the world-Lain is driven by the need to save others.

When Steven, a troubled classmate, asks her to wipe a horrific childhood experience from his mind, Lain's superiors warn her to stay away. Steven's scars are too deep, they say; the risk too great. Yet the more time Lain spends with him, the more she begins to question everything about her society. As she defies the warnings and explores Steven's memories, it becomes clear that he's connected to something much bigger . . . something the Institute doesn't want the world to discover.

Lain never expected to be a rule breaker. She certainly didn't plan on falling in love with a boy she's been forbidden to help. But then, she never expected to stumble into a conspiracy that could ignite a revolution.

Lain is training to become a Mindwalker, one of society's elite doctors who help people forget traumatic events.  This helps keep the peace within society as well as gets rid of the mental disorders from the past.  The world is peaceful and no one is struggling, at least that's what the government wants you to believe.  And for those labelled as number fours, or troublemakers that the government decides isn't worth saving, there's a safe and easy way to end your worthless life.  And as wary as Lain seems to be with this system, she trusts it to be equal and put the greater good before all else.  But when one boy asks for her help, Lain's views are turned upside down.

Steven wants to forget his traumatic past.  Labelled as a number four because he was once abducted and tormented as a kid, society wants to pretend he doesn't exist.  The only handout he gets is a pill that allows him to commit suicide peacefully.  However he decides to seek out Lain instead and see if she'll help him forget his past.  And as Lain works with him, she finds disturbing pieces from hist past that makes her question the very people who are supposed to be keeping the peace.

So this book has an interesting concept and is a pretty interesting read.  It flows from beginning to end, and it seems like the reader can get very invested with this story.  But it was predictable for me.  And I had a couple of hangups with this story.  For example, Lain is supposed to be a clone of her father.  The scientist in me revolts at this idea because you cannot get a girl from a guy using the same DNA and call it a clone.  The sex change destroys the whole clone idea.

Leaving my rant aside, I do think there are going to be quite a few people who enjoy this story.  It's got a very interesting concept that makes us morally question things we see within our own society.  Definitely one to look into.

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