Thursday, November 30, 2017

ARC Review: Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Title: Invictus
Written by: Ryan Graudin
Published: September 30, 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Time flies when you're plundering history.

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far's birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he's ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past.

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far's very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems.

I was so excited to read this book the moment I learned about it. Not only did I really like Ryan Graudin’s Wolf by Wolf series plus it’s a book about time traveling pirates. And despite a really slow start I ended up loving this book.

One of my favorite thing about this book was the characters. If the three books I have read are any indication, Ryan definitely knows how to build an interesting cast of characters. First off, this is a book with a diverse cast who had a lot too them. It’s a book with multiple perspectives and it worked so well because every character was so likable and interesting. The main character her is Farway and while he fit the lovable rogue trope that I typically find amazing, he was far from the most interesting character here. That fell to Eliot who was a mystery that I waked to unravel. The other really fantastic was Imogen who was fun and quirky plus super sweet and smart. But every character had a lot to them.

But the best part about the characters was the relationships. Like a lot of books like this, this was mostly about family and found families. When you have any kind of team that is a natural thing. But it definitely worked her. The characters, and the book, was at it’s best when everyone was working together to achieve something. Plus the real heart of the book was how they interacted and engaged. I was kind of surprised by how much the plot revolves around that family aspect, but what surprised me the most was how that was when the book started to get good. And of course I have to mention the romances. My cold romancephobic heart even melted a little bit by the end when it came to those relationship. They were sweet and subtle, which frankly is how I like my love. But it’s just one more example of how Ryan handles relationships so well.

In addition to all of that, this book also had a fantastic plot. There was a lot going on here. I mean it’s a book about time traveling pirates, so already you have a good idea about what is going to happen. It was completely action-packed and full of daring heists, narrow escapes, and tons of adventure. More then once I was on the edge of my seat wondering how our heroes were going to get out of one scrape or another. And while it definitely built to a thrilling conclusion there was definitely a slow start here. It took about half of the book to really hook me. I think maybe because there was just a lot going on here and we had to wait for all the cards to be laid out before it really got interesting. And when it did get good, but was it good.

Finally, I want to talk about the world building of this book. I read plenty of genre fiction including my fair share of time travel stories. One thing that I found interesting was that while this was a book that made a point of focusing on the details of the historical era, it didn’t bog the reader down in details. If you are not a huge fan of time travel I think you will still like this one. It’s got science fiction elements but it didn’t overwhelm the reader with talk about science or paradoxes even though they were definitely a part of the plot and world of the book. It just all worked together to develop an interesting setting(s) for a larger story which I appreciated.

All in all, I think Invictus was a fantastic read. Whether you are a big fan of science fiction and time travel or not I think you will enjoy this book with great characters and a thrilling plot.

I give Invictus by Ryan Graudin 9.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. I would definitely recommend this book. It's pitched as Doctor Who meets Firefly which I can totally see. If you like science fiction or just want to try it for the first time I think you will enjoy this book.

Have you read Invictus? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Winter TBR

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

December: Books I Should Have Read Already

1. The Knowing by Sharon Cameron - Add to Goodreads
I'm so embarrassed to say that I haven't read this book yet. I got a copy at ALA and it was one of my post anticipated books of the year. And yet despite meaning to read it for months I still haven't. I blame it on my move and that I'm reading so little lately.

2. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao - Add to Goodreads
I actually started to read this book about a month ago and I never read more than the first chapter. It was one of my most anticipated debuts and yet I still haven't read it. I do want to read so hopefully, finally.

3. Imprudence by Gail Carriger - Add to Goodreads
This is the last Gail Carriger book that I need to read (not counting the novellas) and I have been wanting to read it (or listen to the audiobook) for months now after listening to Prudence but I still haven't done. Definitely next month.

4. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis - Add to Goodreads
I read my first Mindy McGinnis book last year and really loved it. I have been wanting to read more and this is totally a me book and despite being given a copy I have not yet read it. I think this month might be the opportunity.

January: Fantasy

5. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Alpert - Add to Goodreads
I am really excited about this 2018 debut. it sounds completely amazing and I think I know a few bloggers who have already read it and loved it. I got a copy at ALA so I want to read it in January when I'm typically in the mood for some fantasy.

6. Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking - Add to Goodreads
I am so excited for the books inspired by Vikings that are coming out next year and this is the first. One of many Viking Inspired fantasies. I was sent a copy of the book from the publisher and I cannot wait to read it.

7. Reign the Earth by A.C. Gaughen - Add to Goodreads
I really enjoyed the Scarlet series so I am super excited about more books from A.C. Gaughen. But even if this book wasn't written by an author that I love, I still would want to read it because it's a fantasy with elemental magic and political intrigue.

8. Gunslinger Girl by Lindsay Ely - Add to Goodreads
This book is not fantasy but you know me, I love a good YA Western. I'm also really intrigued by this one because I think it has like a sci-fi/dystopian vibe to it which means it will probably be very Westworld so I am very interested.

9. Unearthed by Aime Kaufman and Meagan Spooner - Add to Goodreads
Another book that is not a fantasy but a book I am super excited about because it is written by some favorite authors. I am so happy for Amie and Meagan to be writing together again but even more excited about this book because it is supposed to be a sci-fi Tomb Raider.

February: Dragons

10. The Sky is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith - Add to Goodreads
I snatched this book up on Netgalley because it's a dystopian where a futuristic city is plagued by dragons. I mean COME ON! How amazing does that sound? It sounds super unique and I am always looking for something different and unlike anything I have read before

11. Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman - Add to Goodreads
I really liked the Seraphina series so I am interested to read Hartman's next book. Plus this one too takes place in Gorred and is about dragons. Basically I am excited to dive back into this world but with a new character who seems like a kickass female.

12. Blood of a Thousand Stars by Rhoda Bellaza - Add to Goodreads
I loved Empress of a Thousand Skies. I think it was my favorite debut of last year. I am therefore super excited to read it's sequel. I'm excited for what happens next for Rhee and Aly. I'm expecting another action pack sci-fi story with tons of political intrigue.

There you have it. All the books I plan to read in the winter. Obviously I am still reading incredibly slowly so I may or may not read all of these but this is just some of my plan. What books made your list? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Book Review: Before the Devile Breaks You by Libba Bray

*** This is the third book in a series. If you have not read The Diviners and Lair of Dreams proceed with caution, there may be spoilers. Also, read those books because they are amazing. ***

Title: Before the Devil Breaks You
Series: The Diviners #3
Written by: Libba Bray

Published: October 3, 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: New York City.
Lights are bright.
Jazz is king.
Parties are wild.
And the dead are coming...

After battling a supernatural sleeping sickness that early claimed two of their own, the Diviners have had enough of lies. They're more determined than ever to uncover the mystery behind their extraordinary powers, even as they face off against an all-new terror. Out on Ward's Island, far from the city's bustle, sits a mental hospital haunted by the lost souls of people long forgotten--ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the man in the stovepipe hat, also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over, and New York City on the verge of panic, the Diviners must band together and brave the sinister ghosts invading the asylum, a fight that will bring them fact-to-face with the King of Crows. But as the explosive secrets of the past come to light, loyalties and friendships will be tested, love will hang in the balance, and the Diviners will question all that they've ever known. All the while, malevolent forces gather from every corner in a battle for the very soul of a nation--a fight that could claim the Diviners themselves.

I love this series so much and thereforeI was anxiously awaiting the next book in the series. After two years and couldn’t wait to read this one. It was another inventive story from Libba Bray with great characters.

In three books I have become incredibly attached to these characters. This is a book with a ton of different characters and a ton of different perspectives. I am not always a fan of that but I think in this case I enjoyed it because I really do just live all these characters. Some more than others, of course, but in general I think every character is fantastic and complex. With each book different characters get more of the focus and attention. This book gives us a lot more of Theta which was amazing and Mabel which was interesting. There was also plenty of Sam which I appreciated. And while each character was good on their own, they were even better together. They all have great banter and relationships. Plus they make a great team.

But the other great thing about this book is the world building. I’m a big fan of historical fantasies and this book is a perfect example as to why. It’s the kind of book that balances history, mystery, and fantasy. The historical setting here is New York in the 1920’s. Which is such a lush setting prime for adventure and intrigue. Libba does a fantastic job at immersing the reader in that world with the slang from the time and incorporating actual things from the time including flappers, jazz clubs, the Follies, and more. It’s such an interesting and fun period and this book definitely takes advantage of that.

But there are also fantastic supernatural and mystery elements to this book. Here we get to learn a lot about The Diviners and their powers. I really enjoyed getting a bit it of history and learning more about Project Buffalo. There is still a lot more to learn but I am very intrigued by where and how it is all going. And then there is the supernatural elements. Of course we have the Dinivers powers and seeing them use them which was really interesting but there wasn’t a lot of attention on them. There was also plenty of ghosts and those sorts of elements here but this book was definitely not as spooky and scary as the two previous books. It really downplayed the horror elements I think. There supernatural elements but I didn’t find myself on edge in the way I was previously. I think probably this one felt more fantasy and less horror.

I will say, however, that my biggest criticism of this book is that the overall plot here wasn’t as good for me because it didn’t fell very self-contained. The thing about this book is that it didn’t have it’s own storyline really. It built on elements and storylines from the first two books and set things up for the final book in the series but it didn’t really have something unique to itself. The plot was good and it was interesting but I just wish it had something a little bit more two it. More of it’s mystery maybe, more to solve, more or a big reveal. Just more.

But I also want more because I want the final book in this series. The way this book ended I am really itching for the final book in the series to find out what happens to these characters that I love. I hope I don’t have to wait too long for it.

Overall this was a good book with great characters, an engaging historical setting, engrossing fantasy and mystery element. It was another good book in a fantastic series that I am completely committed to and engaged in.

I give Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray 9 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy/Borrow. If you liked the first two books in this series definitely check this one out. And if you like historical fantasies and haven’t read this one then don’t waste any more time and read it.

Have you read Before the Devil Breaks You? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Am Thankful For

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

1.) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Half of the books on this list have books that got me through tough times or I learned a lot from. This book is definitely the former. There was always a new Harry Potter book for big changes in my life. Harry Potter is like comfort food to me.

2.) The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
This book really struck a cord with me when I read it almost 8 years ago. In fact it is the reason I started this blog because of that book and without this blog, where would I be? For that I am forever thankful to this book.

3.) The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
I was a very different book in my 20s. Much more high strung and intense. If you can believe that. Anyway, this book changed a lot of that for me. It really helped me reexamine my life and mellowed me out a lot.

4.) A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Similar to The Alchemist, I owe the fact that I have this blog to this book. Unlike The Alchemist, I actually hated this book. I hated it so much I wanted to complain about it. Then I remembered I had a blog and the rest is history.

5.) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
A lot you all probably know that I am a huge fan of audiobooks. That is thanks to this book, this audiobook. I loved the audio so much and because of it I wanted to listen to more and more audios.

6.) Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
This book made the list for a different reason than most of the other books. Because this book was my first Brandon Sanderson book. I had heard great things about him and then I picked up this audiobook and loved it so much that I read so many more of his books.

7.) The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
I think I am thank for this book for a similar reason. But instead of introducing me to an author, this book introduced me to an entire genre. Historical mysteries are one of my all-time favorite subgenres and it's because of this book.

8.) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I am such a huge fan of this book. It's one of my all-time favorites. Like Harry Potter this book is like comfort food to me. But this book makes me feel comforted but also sad. If I need a good cry I turn to this book and for that I am thankful.

9.) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I had heard good things about this author and so without thinking I read this book. And I have never related to a main character so much as I related to Cath Avery. I loved it so much I have read all her books ever since.

10.) Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
I used to say that I didn't like contemporary romance. But then I read this book and realized I just had not been reading the right books. If I hadn't realized that with this book I probably never read some other really fantastic books.

There you have it. All the books I am thankful for. What books made your list? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, November 20, 2017

ARC Review: Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Title: Renegades
Series: Renegades #1
Written by: Marissa Meyer

Published: November 7, 2017 by Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone...except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova's allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both

**** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ****

This was not my favorite Marissa Meyer book. I’m a fan of the author and I have always thought she has done some amazing a creative things with classic stories so I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, I think that I had too high of hopes because I just didn’t love it. It was a good book but it wasn’t as exciting and I wanted and could have been much more creative.

One thing I did like about the book, despite their lack of creativity, was the characters. I’ll talk more about the powers later but as far as basic characterizations go, this part was pretty good. Character creation has always been where Marissa shines. She is great at creating lovable and charming characters that are complex and engaging. And while these weren’t some of her best they were still really good. As far as the main characters go, there were two, Nova and Adrian. I definitely liked them both. They had interesting backstories and were similarly complex in that they weren’t totally bad or totally good. I connected with them both and their search for answers. But many of them were odious and complex and walked the line between good and evil. That is what I like in my superhero/villain stories and also what I like about books in general so I did appreciate that.

But as far as the powers and the world-building goes, they were not very creative. I say they are not very creative because these characters had definite X-Men vibes. Like SUCH X-Men vibes. Which honestly is natural when you’re talking about superheroes because seriously there is a mutant for everything. It when basically every character has a near Pete t correlation with am X-Men character it gets a little old. There were some exceptions. Adrian’s power was really cool. I liked what she did with him a lot. And Monarch who could turn into butterflies was pretty interesting. But in general, I felt like instead of playing with superhero tropes this book played them up. Which is not a bad thing but also not what I am looking for.

But I think that was how I felt about the plot as well, it was not what I was looking for. It’s not that this book is not exciting. Because, come on, it’s a book about super powered people, there are plenty of action scenes. It’s just that the action scenes were kind of few and far between. There was so much potential here, but the book really just didn’t go there. I had all these theories about complex directions that that plot could be taken in and it didn’t do any of them:m. Which, whatever, I didn’t write this story. But the climax just fell flat for me. I didn’t feel like there was much of an over-arching plot that built up as the boom developed even though it tried to do that. It just felt like it was trying to be tense and it succeeded in that but the plot on the whole felt kind of lackluster.

Maybe it just suffered from first book syndrome for me. I am interested to see where the series goes because the big reveal at the ending was amazing and I know there is definitely some shoes to drop but on the whole, this book just didn’t impress me how I hoped it would.

I give Renegades by Marissa Meyer 8 out of 10 stars
Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. I would probably recommend this book to someone who is not a superhero fan. It’s probably geared more towards a casual fan and not someone who wants an in-depth and creative exploration into the story of heroes and villains.

Have you read Renegades? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Would Elect President

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Politics aside, maybe we should like a fictional character take a turn running our country. I mean it can’t be any worse, right?

1.) Hermione Granger in The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - Add to Goodreads
I mean I know she's British but he is also an incredible leader, smart, heroic, and amazing. I mean I have a Granger/Lovegood political t-shirt and there is a reason why. Hermione would make a great president.
2.) Dorian Havilard in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas - Add to Goodreads
He's already Emperor so I think he's halfway, or like more than way, there. Plus he's just generally fun and cool and I would feel incredibly proud to say he was my president.
3.) Sansa Stark in the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin - Add to Goodreads
I will fight anyone who thinks that Sansa would not make the best leader out of all the characters in this series. All she's ever wanted is to be in charge of a house and she's good at it. How about the White House?
4.) Sierra Santiago in the Shadowshaper Cipher by Daniel Jose Older - Add to Goodreads
I just read the second book in this series and it was amazing. I really love Sierra and she is a fantastic leader. She really shined in Shadowhouse Fall. Plus I think I would agree with her platform.
5.) Elend Venture in the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson - Add to Goodreads
I was originally going to pick Kelsier who is the leader of the crew in Mistborn but then I realized that no, I would much rather have Elend. He's similar to Dorian in that he is already Emperor. But also if he was the President then Vin would be First Lady.
6.) Richard Gansey III in The Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater - Add to Goodreads
Gansey is the blue blood private school son of a Congressperson. That has future president written all over it. But honestly, I think Gansey would make a great President. He's empathetic, brave, curious, and makes a great leader.
7.) Greta Gustafson Stuart in The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow - Add to Goodreads
Greta, like a lot of people on this list, is the heir to a throne. She is supposed to become Empress one day but is also a Prisoner of Peace so she understands the cost of being a leader. Plus she has already shown that she can make the tough decisions.
8.) Mark Watney in The Martian by Andy Weir - Add to Goodreads
An astronaut running for president wouldn't be totally off base. I mean John Glenn was a Senator. Plus he's a hero and people would totally love hearing about his experience out on the stump. Plus Mark is super funny and I would love that in a president.
9.) Petra in Beauty Queens by Libba Bray - Add to Goodreads
I don't think a beauty queen running for office is totally out of character. Especially for Petra. I feel like she would definitely end up running mostly because she wants to prove a point but I would support her in that.
10.) Kestrel in The Winners Trilogy by Marie Rutkowski  - Add to Goodreads
I think Kestrel would be a great choice because she is one of those characters who is an incredibly strategic thinker who is constantly under-estimated. I think this would make her a great leader and is one of the reasons I would elect her president.

There you go, all the fictional characters I would elect president. What characters would make your list? Leave me a comment with your thoguhts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Audiobook Review: La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman

Title: La Belle Sauvage
Series: The Book of Dust #1
Written by: Phillip Pullman

Published: October 19, 2017 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them, a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua . . .

When you hear that there is a new book in one of your all-time favorite series your first thought is always going to be excitement followed by an incredible amount of worry that it’s not as good as the original. And while La Belle Sauvage is no His Dark Materials, it was totally amazing.

For one thing this book had the amazing world that Phillip Pullman created in the His Dark Materials. I am such a huge fan of that world that seriously anything you give me with that setting I will read. Seriously. I’ve read all the novella in addition to the original series multiple times. The world is just so creative and imaginative. In La Belle Sauvage we explore the world a little more but it’s actually a very narrow area. Most of the book is spent in Oxford (although not the actual university) and a little bit in London. And yet we still learn so much more about the world. I love the way this series perfectly combines science fiction and fantasy to make something all its own. La Belle Sauvage absolutely did that. But I’d say this one leaned a little bit more on the fantasy aspects of the world. There was a real magic to it all and I loved that. But I loved everything about the world. It was imaginative and immersive.

Part of why I think the book was so immersive is that I listened to the audiobook. And seriously, it was an amazing audio. My last reread of the His Dark Materials series was via audio and I loved that it was a full cast. I was nervous about one narrator in this one, but it was amazing. Michael Sheen was a completely fantastic narrator. It didn’t matter who the character he was narrating for he completely embodied them. He did such a good job that sometimes I even find got it was only one narrator. Not to mention he did that amazing thing where when the plot got more thrilling he sped up his narration. He pulled me in and didn’t let me go until the very end.

But that’s a good way to describe this plot. It definitely pulled me in. I wasn’t exactly sure what this book was going to be about (not like I cared) but I did know it was a prequel for the original series. And that’s what this book was. It was sort of an origin story for Lyra. She wasn’t our main character but she was a huge part of the plot. We learned about how things got to be the way it was when we first entered he world but it was still a story all on its own. And it felt like a very topical story. Pullman has always done a great job making social commentary interesting and subtle while still making you think. With everything that is going on in today’s world it’s rife for this sort of thing. And it was completely fantastic in that way. But all that aside, this was a thrilling read. There was so much tension and drama. It had me on the edge of my seat and caught me by surprise many times. Pullman knows how to write a thrilling book and this was no exception.

As far as the characters they were everything I expect in a Phillip Pullman book. They were complex and sympathetic. I was a little nervous about reading a new book without Lyra as the main character but I don’t know why I was worried. Pullman did just as amazing a job of getting me to fall for Malcolm. He was such a great main character. Fiercely loyal, brave, smart, resourceful, willing to help anyone and everyone. Seriously, he was such a Hufflepuff. But I think the best thing about him was that he loved Lyra just as much as I do. Because yes, Lyra was a big part of this book. Baby Lyra. And she wasn’t the only character from the original series. We got to see the origins of a few other characters I love and love to hate. It was great seeing them pop up and learn how they got to be where they are when we first meet them. That includes some of the more odious characters like Lord Azriel and Ms. Coulter, but they were not the only odious characters. This is a book with plenty of characters who I wasn’t sure if I should trust or not. Those are the kinds of characters I love and I love that about this book too.

My one criticism however is with the pacing. It’s a thrilling book, yes, but it’s a little bit slow at first. I know that it takes awhile before we can get to the good stuff but this book felt like two different stories. Honestly it was similar to The Golden Compass in that way. The first part was just a “wandering around where we are” exposition before we go off on an adventure. I know we need those slower parts but I just don’t enjoy them as much as the actual adventure.

But all in all this was an absolutely amazing read. I loved being able to dive back into the world of His Dark Materials. It had an engrossing world, compelling characters, and a thrilling plot. It was everything I was hoping it would be.

I give La Belle Sauvage by Phillip Pullman 9.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: BUY! If you are a fan of the original series then you NEED to read this book. And if you haven’t read His Dark Materials and you like science fiction and/or fantasy you must read this series. I wouldn’t start here, but I would come back to it eventually.

Have you read La Belle Sauvage? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Friday, November 3, 2017

ARC Review: This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada Blog Tour and Giveaway



This Mortal Coil
by Emily Suvada
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 7th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Fiction

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Links: Goodreads - AmazonB&NBook DepositoryiBooksKobo -  IndieBound -


In this gripping debut novel, seventeen-year-old Cat must use her gene-hac king skills to decode her late father ’ s message concealing a vaccine to a horrifying plague.

Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.

That’s no surprise, since Cat ’ s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.

When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been ki lled, Cat ’ s instincts tell her it ’ s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat ’ s help to release it and save the human race.

Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much ca n she even trust herself?

I really wanted to love this book. It had so much promise and I was so excited to read it. But unfortunately it never quite delivered on that promise. It was an okay read but I just didn’t love it.

The one really good thing about this book was the world. It was a fantastic science fiction world. You can absolutely tell that the author is a scientist. And if she’s not she sure did her research. If she is, she sure did her research. There are some really elaborate and intricate parts of this world that give it a heavy science fiction feel to it. But there are also some really good dystopian parts of this world. It’s one of those books where society is basically in chaos because of a virus. I love when my dystopia keeps the sci-do feel and I appreciated that about this book. It was an interesting and engaging world.

That being said, I didn’t totally love the world building. There was a lot to this world. A lot of different concepts and technology. Whole that’s a good thing it did make for a world building that kind had to tell you instead of show you what was going on. It definitely had a bad case of the info dumps. Especially in the beginning of the book. I like a complex world but if you’re going to have to explain everything it is going to take me out of the book and impact my enjoyment. Unfortunately that is what happened here.

I think the complexity problem all extended into the plot as well. I never thought there would come a day that I thought a plot was too complex but that day is today. Because there was seriously just too going on here. At times it felt like it was just manufactured conflict to make things intense. While at other times it felt like the big moments weren’t given the amount of time needed for it to sink in. It just moved from point to point so quickly that nothing was really hitting in the way I wanted it. Like even when huge reveals and surprises came around. I was surprised and invested, but then we just moved on to the next thing. By the end of the book I kind of stopped caring a little bit because I just couldn’t devote any more attention to the plot I knew was just going to move on in a few pages anyway.

But I do think a lot of the book was redeemed by the characters. There were some very interesting and complex characters here. Most of you probably know I like my characters dark and odious. That is exactly what I found here. Like most good dystopia there are shady pseudo-government agencies, splinter groups branded as terrorists, and plenty of people whose true allegiance you don’t really know. It made for some fun reveals and character twists. But thankfully the one character who I was rooting for was the main character of Catarina. She was a good main character in that she was determined and smart but still vulnerable. Bad things kept happening to her and you didn’t want them to. She was really likable and made me keep reading. All the characters is what made me keep reading. I wanted to know where they stood in the end.

All in all this was an okay read. I honestly think it was just entirely too complex. If the world was toned down a little bit, the plot was given enough time to percolate, and the characters were given time to develop it would have been great.

I give This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada 7.5 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow/Bypass. I would recommend this to fans of YA dystopia with a heavy science fiction element. It’s not the best of the genre that I’ve read but I think fans looking for one more book like that will like it.

Have you read This Mortal Coil? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Favorite Quotes
"A breeze dances through the knee-high grass, sweeping in across the water, carrying the cries of the pigeon, the chill of the evening, and the rich deep scent of the forest." (e-ARC p.7)
"Like, despite the apocalypse, I'm somehow supposed to be pretty. It feels stupid even thinking about it, but I still find myself tilting my head back and forth in the light from the naked bulb overhead, searching for an angle that makes me look good." (e-ARC p. 64)
"Most people are afraid of the guy with the gun, but the person they should be afraid of is the one with the genkit cable. It's software that runs the show in this world, not hardware. People like you are always in control." (e-ARC p.81)
"We live in evil times, Catarina. Sometimes we need to embrace that to survive." (e-ARC p. 242)



Emily Suvada was born and raised in Australia, where she went on to study mathematics and astrophysics. She previously worked as a data scientist, and still spends hours writing algorithms to perform tasks which would only take minutes to complete on her own. When not writing, she can be found hiking, cycling, and conducting chemistry experiments in her kitchen. She currently lives in Portland, OR, with her husband.

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