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Review: Venus City by Tabitha Vale

venuscity-v1Title: Venus City
Author: Tabitha Vale
Series: Legacy of the Sares # 1
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Format: E-book
Source:  Author
Pub. Year: 2012
Purchase: Amazon

I requested a copy from the author and it was provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 

Blurb from Amazon:

“His magenta eyes flashed up to meet hers and for a moment she thought she saw something spark behind them—something fierce, something challenging.” In a city where boys’ eyes are magenta and their emotions of lust, anger, greed, and ambition are remarkably absent, spoiled Braya Vace finds herself in the biggest problem of her young life when she meets handsome, blue-eyed Asher Benedict. It wasn’t supposed to be possible. There wasn’t supposed to be anyone else living outside Venus City. As she tries to unravel the mystery of Asher and his group of foreigner boys, the rest of Braya’s life seems to crumble apart around her. A disapproving mother, a sick younger sister, a mysterious brother, and a humiliating career as a Bride are just a few of the things that Braya has to deal with. Those, and her conflicting feelings for Asher.

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Random: An annoying main character that later grows on you.

A dystopian society that reverses gender roles is always interesting because of the implications. Venus City is intriguing because it has women in power and the men are forced into submissive states. It is also an isolated city that has no contact with the outside world so when are outsiders break in, it changes the people within.

Character-wise, Braya is a character you love to hate because she is so annoying at the start of the book (and even two-thirds of the book in, honestly). She has a condescending attitude, essentially friendless (thanks to her bad attitude), and just treats people like they are worthless. It was hard to believe that she was going to be a romantic interest for someone but then Asher as the Romantic Interest was introduced; it was believable that he would fall for her and vice versa. Asher is a member of Locer Shark ( a possible terrorist group) but more importantly, an outsider to Venus City who didn’t grew up with the ideology that “men are stupid and women are superior in every form.” He challenges Braya and her understanding of men. Aspen is Braya’s brother who may not be like all the other men in Venus City and when Aspen and Braya are together, Braya looks hideous because she is vicious towards him. Bellamine is the younger sister of Braya and Aspen and she suffers from Tristant, a debilitating disease. It is only when Braya is next to Bellamine does she appear to be compassionate and so much nicer.

As for the villains, I didn’t particular care about them because it is not obvious who the villains are. They are absent throughout most of the book. The most obvious villain or antagonist is Charlotte, Braya’s mother, who treats her children like they are worthless. She is dominating and scary.

I realize I haven’t talked about the plot yet so let’s remedy that . Asher and the Locer Sharks are outsiders who are going to “de-haze” Venus City and forced the city to interact with the outside world that is being ravished by a war. Venus City doesn’t know a war is going on because it is isolated or at least, it’s citizens don’t know that. Asher and Braya get to know each other through the de-hazing process and fall for each other. As this is happening, Braya has to find the cure for Tristant for her dying sister.

Venus City is quite an interesting city. It is a negative-stereotype-of-a-feminist’s dream come true because it just constantly beats down on men. The women who are Crowns (the wealthy) are like “ Don’t be friendly with men, they are worthless” and treat them like crap. Braya doesn’t treat Aspen, her brother, with respect because she grew up believing that she should not like men. The book is a bad feminist’s dream on the surface but as we dig deeper, we realized that even though the women are in power, they are actually quite weak. They have no compassion for one another and there are no sisterly bonds that are genuine. Braya and her “friends” hang out together because they are forced to be together and they are constantly at each other’s throat. The idea of domesticity is viewed as repulsive, having children is repulsive and it is a twisted ideology coming from Braya who was indoctrinated by her mother, Charlotte.  At the same time, the domestic aspect of life is connected to being Brides who are essentially breeders and they have to reproduce beautiful children. It seems like young females can raise their status by being breeders so there are two trains of thoughts running. There is a Bride school where Brides are given husbands so the society has no concept of romance and love.  It’s a society of mistreatment and hatred.

One of the unique characteristic of this novel is the insults. “Mud” for the males and “Finches” for the females. It was quite creative on Vale’s part because it is like cussing yet not cussing. I do wish she had come up with something new instead of using “effing.” Using “effing” breaks the illusion that Venus City is a world apart (or a few hundred years apart from now). What the word “effing” does, it connects Venus City to our current world and I don’t think they should be connected because Venus City is following a different timeline. However, it is only the first book and it might be that the planet Venus City is located on is Earth so “effing” is possibly foreshadowing this relation. At this moment, “effing” is bothering me and it doesn’t jive with the book.

Overall, I like the book because as annoying Braya is with her attitude, she has enough human moments that make her tolerable. The ideology that half of the characters spout is interesting because it is twisted and both sides of the argument are represented. At the same time, the ideology doesn’t dramatically altered the normal status quo of the world because it still keeps heterosexuality at the core of society.

3 BB-Pretty to look at

3 BB-Pretty to look at

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Qualifies for: E-book Challenge

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Review: Waiting For Daybreak by Amanda McNeil

Title: Waiting For Daybreak
Author: Amanda McNeil
Series: Standalone
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: E-book
Source:  Author
Pub. Year: 2012
Purchase: Amz
I received this novel free of charge from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:

What is normal?

Frieda has never felt normal. She feels every emotion too strongly and lashes out at herself in punishment. But one day when she stays home from work too depressed to get out of bed, a virus breaks out turning her neighbors into flesh-eating, brain-hungry zombies. As her survival instinct kicks in keeping her safe from the zombies, Frieda can’t help but wonder if she now counts as healthy and normal, or is she still abnormal compared to every other human being who is craving brains?

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Random: If you are looking for a fast-paced zombie book, this isn’t it.

For a zombie book, it is very different in the genre. It stands out in the genre because it is not typical “Let’s run away from zombies” and that might be its downfall. It is atypical and so much of the book happens inside of the mind that even the zombies can’t bring an excitement to it. It is a psychological zombie book and this is the type of book where nothing happens for about 60% of the book (at least in my opinion), 60%-90% is somewhat interesting, and the final 10% is fantastic.  At the same time, I really enjoyed the book.

The first half of the book is spent with Frieda just talking about her disorder, the day before the world descended into chaos and the new world with the Afflicted (Zombies). Nothing happens and I couldn’t help but wonder if the rest of the book was going to be about her ramblings. The only good thing in the first section of the book is that Frieda is a unique character. She claims to feel too much and ends up hurting herself in order to stop feeling. She paints herself as the psycho girlfriend because of her disorder (bipolar, I would say) but she is not too crazy, just depressed and a little crazy. It is interesting to see a zombie apocalypse from the mind of a mentally ill person. In a way there is certain disassociation with what is happening around her, she doesn’t care about the what is going on and her life didn’t change dramatically from before and after the apocalypse. She is still isolated emotionally and physically. Besides the threat of zombie of eating her, she is surprisingly well adjusted to her new world.

It is a zombie book because it has zombies but the zombies are really tame. Maybe that’s not the right way to describe it. There isn’t enough interactions with zombies to qualify the novel as an exciting, fast paced zombie book. There are some fast-paced actions scene but the zombies are secondary to the plot. The zombies play the role of questioning what normalcy means. They contribute to the mental instability of Frieda who has never considered herself normal before the infection. The zombies while dangerous to Frieda (because they want to eat her) are much more dangerous in terms of what they represent. It becomes apparent   when Frieda meets another survivor who has a rather bleak view of humanity. It’s an interesting perspective that I enjoyed reading about. I still would have prefer her wondering about zombies to be broken up by intense zombie fighting. I’m just glad that the cat got sick (which is a horrible thing to say coming from a cat lover) because the action started with him.

At the end of the day, it’s much more about Frieda trying to find out what normal means in a world gone wrong instead of a zombie book. I believe that it is a fresh take on zombies in the fiction genre.

4 BB-Ready for capture

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61st in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, Self-Published, Zombie, Dystopia, Science Fiction, Where are you reading?-Massachusetts

Wishlist Wednesday # 20

Wishlist Wednesday is hosted by Pen to Paper. It is the place to showcase one book that has been on our wishlist. Click on the image if you feel like joining in on the fun.

On My Wishlist is: Beta by Rachel Cohn

Elysia is created in a laboratory, born as a sixteen-year-old girl, an empty vessel with no life experience to draw from. She is a Beta, an experimental model of a teenage clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to exist.

Elysia’s purpose is to serve the inhabitants of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on earth. Everything about Demesne is bioengineered for perfection. Even the air induces a strange, euphoric high, which only the island’s workers—soulless clones like Elysia—are immune to.

At first, Elysia’s life is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne’s human residents, who should want for nothing, yearn. But for what, exactly? She also comes to realize that beneath the island’s flawless exterior, there is an under­current of discontent among Demesne’s worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care—so why are overpowering sensations cloud­ing Elysia’s mind?

If anyone discovers that Elysia isn’t the unfeeling clone she must pretend to be, she will suffer a fate too terrible to imagine. When her one chance at happi­ness is ripped away with breathtaking cruelty, emotions she’s always had but never understood are unleashed. As rage, terror, and desire threaten to overwhelm her, Elysia must find the will to survive.

I love the flower on her face. Plus, the purple eyes, a very nice shade of purple, are captivating. The blurb itself sounds pretty interesting. It is a dystopian world masquerading as a utopian world which are always fun to delve into. Perfection is always elusive but it is fun (and highly dangerous) to attempt to capture it. I’m curious as to her status of being a clone, does that mean she is a machine or is she biologically compatible with humans. Weird question but that is how I think.

Review: Dead Tropics by Sue Edge

Title: Dead Tropics
Author: Sue Edge
Series: Standalone
Genre: Horror
Format: E-book
Source:  Innovative Online Book Tours
Pub. Year: 2012
Purchase: Amz/ B&N
I received this novel free of charge from the Innovative Online Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Blurb from Amazon:
IN THE MIDST OF A CATASTROPHE LIKE THE WORLD HAS NEVER SEEN, ONE WOMAN WILL STOP AT NOTHING TO PROTECT HER FAMILY.

Lori Nelson has always seen herself as an ordinary woman, doing the best she can to juggle family and her work as a nurse. But the most dangerous creature in nature is the mother whose offspring is threatened?

When miners release an ancient virus Lori is at ground zero of the deadly battle for survival. With the help of a laconic ex-soldier, can Lori find the strength to fight the spreading threat and save her family?

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Random: It is as entertaining as a zombie movie.

BEST ZOMBIE BOOK that I have read so far. It is fantastic and it kept me intrigued the entire length of the novel. In terms of zombie books with a high level of action, it is going to hard for other zombie books to surpass this book.

Lori is a great protagonist. She is fiercely independent and a willing fighter. She takes on the zombies in order to rescue children from the children’s ward in the hospital and in order to save her sister’s neighbors. Lori is really courageous but Edge allows the readers to know that Lori has a vulnerable side. Lori is afraid of what is going on around her but she has a need to try to help others that tends to over-ride her fear.

One of the great things about this novel is the inclusion of children as survivors. Most books and movies only have adult as survivors. Edge has included about five small children and two teenagers in the book. It shows a different perspective of what a zombie apocalypse would  be like if the adults had to worry about their children. It adds to the story because finding and protecting the children are added as obstacles that need to be overcome but also make the adults vulnerable and human. It is the children that bring down Lori’s survival character to realistic level. She is mother trying to protect her children and that is why she is willing to fight zombies.

The action is non-stop which might be the best feature of the novel. Lori is swimming with crocodiles to evade the zombies, crawling under cars, running over cars, and stealing cars. It is really exciting to read the action scenes because they have enough to details to create a movie in your head. The supporting cast also have their action scenes. The action never really stops and certain event will surprise the reader. I wasn’t expecting the final boat scene but it is one of the best one in the books. It’s not due to the action but the suspense surrounding it.

The only negative thing I could say is that I’m not entirely sure how the virus originated. Did the miners released something or did they not? I have to be honest, I really do not care because the book was highly entertaining that it made me forget to question the origin of the virus. In fact, I’m going to let it slide and not deduct a half butterfly (which is what I should do but won’t) because Lori’s journey is fascinating and heartbreaking at times.

Dead Tropics is a five butterfly. Non-stop action, a compelling heroine and children as survivors make it a fantastic book.

5 BB- Total Keeper

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47th in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: E-book, Zombies, Dystopia, Science Fiction, Men in Uniform, Where Are You Reading?-Australia

Review: Memento Nora by Angie Smibert

Title: Memento Nora
Author: Angie Smibert
Series: Memento Nora #
Genre: YA Dystopia
Format: Hardcover
Source:  Public Library
Pub. Year: 2011
Purchase: Amz/ B&N/

Blurb from Amazon:


In the future, it doesn’t pay to remember.

In Nora’s world you don’t have to put up with nightmares. Nora goes with her mother to TFC–a Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic. There, she can describe her horrible memory and take the pill that will erase it. But at TFC, a chance encounter with a mysterious guy changes Nora’s life. She doesn’t take the pill. And when Nora learns the memory her mother has chosen to forget, she realizes that someone needs to remember. With newfound friends Micah and Winter, Nora makes a comic book of their memories called Memento. It’s an instant hit, but it sets off a dangerous chain of events. Will Nora, Micah, and Winter be forced to take the Big Pill that will erase their memories forever?

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Random:  I wish I could see the graphic novel of Memento.

This is the first book from the Wishlist Wednesday posts that I have posted and it doesn’t disappoint. The dystopian world was interesting  and the characters are too.

It’s fascinating to think that a pill can make any traumatic memory go away. The worst part is that no one reports what is being forgotten but that makes sense, why record what people will have no recollection of. Money is no longer used in this society; points are being used now. ID chips are the norm and very secure gated communities. The concept is interesting but novel doesn’t explain the rise of certain security measures.  It’s a little bit of an issue.

Let’s talk about Nora. She was an interesting character because she believed a random boy from her school who told her to not take the forgetting pill. In a society where it is accepted to forget, she immediately places her favor in remembering. She chooses to remember because someone has to remember what is being forgotten and do something about it. Her wanting to remember was for her mother’s sake but soon enough, it changes when she meets Micah. Micah who is her complete opposite and encourages her to remember through the graphic novel, Memento, they create. He was the one who started Nora on her remembering quest. He had an interesting life, one that wasn’t filled with abuse but just strife. There is also Winter and I’m not sure what to make of her. She is an artist who makes art out of metal…I think. She helps with the production of Memento and has been affected in a negative way by the new power structure of society.

I think the conspiracy theory about the corporations making a profit of the bombings in the city was true but it was also stretch a bit. The fact that areas were cleared beforehand by the police adds legitimizes the theory. Except one bombing incident that occurred at night and would have only killed a child (still tragic if it had happened). It’s a crack in the theory but I’ll buy into the corporation and government are working together to rake in high profit and maintain the status quo of living.

I’m looking forward to the second book because Nora’s next move should be interesting and hopefully, Winter’s family history is revealed. It should since Winter’s family is connected to Nora’s mother.

4.5 BB-Ready for capture, Total keeper

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42nd in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualifies for: First in a series, Dystopia, Science Fiction

Wishlist Wednesday # 13

Wishlist Wednesday is hosted by Pen to Paper. It is the place to showcase one book that has been on our wishlist. Click on the image if you feel like joining in on the fun.

On my wishlist is: Helper12 by Jack Blaine

Helper12 works as a Baby Helper in Pre Ward, the place where babies spend their first six months of life before they’re tracked for vocations and sent to training. She does her job well, and she stays out of trouble. But one day, the Sloanes, Society members who enjoy all the privileges of their station—family unit clearance, a private dwelling, access to good food and good schools—come to “adopt” one of the Pre Ward babies. The Director makes a deal and the Sloanes walk out with a brand new child.

They also walk out owning Helper12—the Director sells her to them, and there’s nothing she can do but go. At the Sloanes, Helper12 enters a world where people should be able to enjoy life—with high position and riches come the opportunity for individual freedom, even the chance to love—but that’s not what she finds. The Sloanes are keeping secrets. So is their biological son, Thomas.

Helper12 has some secrets of her own; she’s drawing, which is a violation, since Baby Helpers aren’t tracked for Art. And she’s growing to love the child she was bought to care for—at the same time that Ms. Sloane is becoming disenchanted with her impulse baby buy.

When all your choices are made for you, how do you make some for yourself? Helper12 is about to find out.

I love the sound of this novel. It sounds really intriguing. The fact that it seems that parents no longer take care of their own children is a bit sad but should provide an interesting view into the parent-child relationship. I’m curious as to how Helper12 will come into her own being.

Wishlist Wednesday # 11

Wishlist Wednesday is hosted by Pen to Paper. It is the place to showcase one book that has been on our wishlist. Click on the image if you feel like joining in on the fun.

On My Wishlist is: The Declaration by Gemma Malley

Blurb from Amazon:
Anna Covey is a ‘Surplus’. She should not have been born. In a society in which ageing is no longer feared, and death is no longer an inevitability, children are an abomination.

Like all Surpluses, Anna is living in a Surplus Hall and learning how to make amends for the selfish act her parents committed in having her. She is quietly accepting of her fate until, one day, a new inmate arrives. Anna’s life is thrown into chaos. But is she brave enough to believe this mysterious boy?

A tense and utterly compelling story about a society behind a wall, and the way in which two young people seize the chance to break free.

I must be in a dystopia mode because I like the sound of this novel. It also makes me angry that society punishes the children of rule breakers. It is not the children’s fault if the parents choose to disobey rules but people do forget this important fact. Oh well. Still, it sounds very interesting and I love the butterfly on the cover.

Wishlist Wednesday # 10

Wishlist Wednesday is hosted by Pen to Paper. It is the place to showcase one book that has been on our wishlist. Click on the image if you feel like joining in on the fun.

On My Wishlist is: Memento Nora by Angela Smibert

Blurb from Amazon:
In the future, it doesn’t pay to remember.

In Nora’s world you don’t have to put up with nightmares. Nora goes with her mother to TFC–a Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic. There, she can describe her horrible memory and take the pill that will erase it. But at TFC, a chance encounter with a mysterious guy changes Nora’s life. She doesn’t take the pill. And when Nora learns the memory her mother has chosen to forget, she realizes that someone needs to remember. With newfound friends Micah and Winter, Nora makes a comic book of their memories called Memento. It’s an instant hit, but it sets off a dangerous chain of events. Will Nora, Micah, and Winter be forced to take the Big Pill that will erase their memories forever?

The title capture me right from the start. I love the word Memento. It sounds so classical. The novel seems like a fascinating dystopia novel. Who hasn’t wish that for a pill that can make us forget certain events in life? Or life in general when we have reached rock-bottom. I love the concept of this novel. From the Amazon reviews, it seems pretty good.

Wishlist Wednesday # 12

Wishlist Wednesday is hosted by Pen to Paper. It is the place to showcase one book that has been on our wishlist. Click on the image if you feel like joining in on the fun.

On My Wishlist is: The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist

Blurb from Amazon:
One day in early spring, Dorrit Weger is checked into the Second Reserve Bank Unit for biological material. She is promised a nicely furnished apartment inside the Unit, where she will make new friends, enjoy the state of the art recreation facilities, and live the few remaining days of her life in comfort with people who are just like her. Here, women over the age of fifty and men over sixty–single, childless, and without jobs in progressive industries–are sequestered for their final few years; they are considered outsiders.

In the Unit they are expected to contribute themselves for drug and psychological testing, and ultimately donate their organs, little by little, until the final donation. Despite the ruthless nature of this practice, the ethos of this near-future society and the Unit is to take care of others, and Dorrit finds herself living under very pleasant conditions: well-housed, well-fed, and well-attended. She is resigned to her fate and discovers her days there to be rather consoling and peaceful. But when she meets a man inside the Unit and falls in love, the extraordinary becomes a reality and life suddenly turns unbearable. Dorrit is faced with compliance or escape, and…well, then what?

THE UNIT is a gripping exploration of a society in the throes of an experiment, in which the “dispensable” ones are convinced under gentle coercion of the importance of sacrificing for the “necessary” ones. Ninni Holmqvist has created a debut novel of humor, sorrow, and rage about love, the close bonds of friendship, and about a cynical, utilitarian way of thinking disguised as care.

OMG, this sound so intense and so close to reality that it is chilling. It’s kind of what we do senior citizens currently (isolating them) so this book is just right at the boundaries of realism and dystopia. I wan to read it so badly now. It seems like it could really have a powerful message about health care and isolation. 

Wishlist Wednesday # 6

Wishlist Wednesday is hosted by Pen to Paper. It is the place to showcase one book that has been on our wishlist. Click on the image if you feel like joining in on the fun.

On My Wishlist is: A Long Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan

Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss.

Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten sub-basement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now her parents and her first love are long dead, and Rose — hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire — is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat.

Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes — or be left without any future at all.

This sounds amazing. The blurb is amazing. The cover is nice but its not the cover I usually fall for. It’s simplistic and nice. A quiet quality that really speaks to me. I wouldn’t have thought it would be a dystopia. I’m dying to read this book now.