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Review: Across The Universe by Beth Revis

Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Series: Across the Universe # 1
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Pub. Year: 2011
Purchase: Amazon/ B&N /TBD

Blurb from Amazon:
A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

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Cover Love: OMG, that is one fantastic cover. At first, I though they were mountains but no, they are faces. Sweet.

I really love this book. Two things did annoyed me but oh my god, it was a great read. It’s been awhile since I read a book where it takes entirely in space. Because it happen in a space ship, I kept thinking of Pandorum which is a fantastic movie and has nothing to do with this book.

The characters were fleshed out in a spectacular way. We have Amy the red-headed girl aboard a ship where everyone has similar skin, hair color, and same beliefs. She sorely stands out with her black and white ideology. There is Elder who is going to take over the ship when Eldest (the current leader) dies. He was interesting because he was acting like a rebel going against the orders of Eldest even though he is going to be the new leader eventually. He question Eldest about the plague and protected Amy from Eldest. Eldest is like a deranged Dumbledore; just an old man that hides the truth in order to maintain the peace aboard the ship. Harley was really a fantastic tortured artist. Calling Amy his little koi fish because of her vibrant red hair.

The inner workings of the story really kept me on the edge. There are just a quite a few twists that rocked your mind. I can’t spoil them because they are a great addiction to the book. I will spoil this because I did suspect it and if I suspect it, there is a good chance that other readers did too. My theory was that the ship was slowing down in reaching its destination and that’s what Eldest was trying to hide. It usually happens in certain science fiction novels so I sort of assume that. There are like three major twists that are just shocking and breath taking. Especially who woke Amy up. I wasn’t expecting that.

One of the elements I really liked from this novel was the slow progression of the romance between Amy and Elder. I would have been suspicious and dislike the novel if they had an instant love connection. Amy just woke up from being cryogenically frozen for 250 years; she is out of sort in this new environment and had a boyfriend on Sol-Earth as the original Earth is called. Elder, on the other hand, I don’t think has grasp what love is because there is no emphasis on love in the ship. There is no sex aboard the ship but there is mating for reproductive purposes. There is a great difference between that. It makes sense that he wouldn’t know how to properly act around Amy and Amy is still confused about her new “world” so adding an intense relationship would further complicate matters. I applaud Revis for taking the relationship at a realistic pace.

The two things that annoyed me was the fact that I suspected who was the one killing the frozen patients right away and how were all the patients connected. It took Elder and Amy more than a three-fourths of the book to figure this out when I figured it out during the second murder attempt. It was right there on the wall; Amy wrote it on the wall and no once could tell that it was *****. Sorry, no spoilers allowed in this post.

I mentioned Eldest is a deranged Dumbledore and he is because he is keeping secrets and lying about what is really going on but he is not as deranged as I made him out to be. Logically, Eldest had a valid point in keeping the truth hidden considering what happen during the Plague. The new life aboard the ship is a dystopia because there is no freedom to decide on anything. But at the same time Eldest’s regime wasn’t too oppressive. He made people into simple-minded people with no concern for philosophy or science but they were happy. Idiots but happy. There was some twistiness to saying that Lincoln and the US Civil War was about the elimination of a race; that’s why Hitler was a great leader because he attempted to establish one superior race. Amy was horrified at hearing that and so was I. There are certain moves that Eldest took that are part of the spoiler so I can’t give it away but I have to say that there is valid reasoning behind his logic. It’s a bit disappointing that Amy and Elder would not consider Eldest’s point of view. Even if they ended up rejecting the tactics employed by Eldest, it would have been intriguing to see them debate about moral issues instead of saying “It’s wrong and it’s over.”

Overall, I do love this novel and I’m looking forward to reading the second novel. I can’t wait to see what how the reality of the dire situation the ship faces affects everyone.

4.5 BB-Ready for capture, Total keeper

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13th book in the 150+ Reading Challenge
Also qualify for: 1st in a Series, Dystopia, Science Fiction,

Review: Hollowland by Amanda Hocking

HollowlandTitle: Hollowland
Author: Amanda Hocking
Series: Hollows # 1
Genre:  Zombies, Apocalypse
Source:  Smashwords
Format: E-book
Pub. Year: Dec. 7, 2010
Purchase: Amazon/ B&N/Smashwords
I receive this book free of charge of Smashwords. in exchange for an honest review. It is still available free of charge. Just click on any of the purchase links.

Blurb from Amazon:
“This is the way the world ends – not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door.”

Nineteen-year-old Remy King is on a mission to get across the wasteland left of America, and nothing will stand in her way – not violent marauders, a spoiled rock star, or an army of flesh-eating zombies.

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Thoughts to ponder on: The effective use of combat boots

I love zombies movies, I don’t find zombies sexy like I do vampires but I love watching zombies movies on TV. This is my first reading of zombies in literature and I have to say as good as it was, it definitely reminded me of a SyFy movie with its campiness and predictable nature except for that twist of an ending.

Remy, the main character, is a kick-ass heroine and doesn’t shy away from the goriness of killing zombies. She’s a very hard person because she does leave the infected behind but she’s also willing to come back for them if they are in a danger so that makes a her a great leader. Hocking created a heroine that sticks to who she is all the way through the book, not even a love interest keeps her from completing her goal of finding her brother.

I liked the majority of the cast. Blue as the group’s doctor, Lazlo’s as Remy’s love interest, and Harlow as the friend of Remy. They all seemed one-dimensional at first but eventually (some) become three-dimensional. For example,  Harlow as a 13 year old was immature and wanted the comforts of life in this zombie-infected world. Throughout the book, she gradually realizes that life is not going to be what it was before the infection and gradually adapts to it. I feel that Harlow and Lazlo’s character are the one who grew up the most in one book.

Maybe I watched way too many zombies movies that lead me to predict most of the book. Let me tell you what I did not predict. The Lion (oh, I love that zombie-killing lion)  and the ending (ohh, twisty and I already bought the second book). The lion and  her fascination with eating zombies is something I don’t understand but I can live it. I’m totally not ruining the ending for you but it is good.

What did I predict? The casino in Las Vegas; the cult in Las Vegas, a mercenary band, the military, Remy’s infection and her brother’s immunity (this is not spoiler, it is pretty much given away in the first couple of pages and if it is, I’m so sorry I ruined it for you).  After Remy and her crew are rescued by the military police in Idaho, that’s where  I sort of  lost my mojo in predicting where this book was heading.

This book is getting 4.5 stars because it was a fun read and it was very entertaining. Like a good zombie movie, it has very creative ways of killing zombies and there is always someone with immunity. Remy is a great heroine who is really admirable and I hope to be when zombie apocalypse happens.

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4.5 BB-Ready for capture, Total keeper

3rd  book in the 150+ Challenge
Also qualifies for: Self Published, Dystopia, Science Fiction, 1st in A Series, E-Book, Zombie, Cupcake War, Why Buy The Cow? and Where are you reading?- Las Vegas

Review: Daughter of the Centaurs

Author: Kate Klimo
Title: Centaruid # 1: Daughter of Centaurs
Series: Centaruid # 1
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Netgalley
Format: Galley
Pub. Year: 2012, Jan 24
Purchase: Amazon/B&N

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Malora knows what she was born to be: a horse wrangler and a hunter, just like her father. But when her people are massacred by batlike monsters called Leatherwings, Malora will need her horse skills just to survive. The last living human, Malora roams the wilderness at the head of a band of magnificent horses, relying only on her own wits, strength, and courage. When she is captured by a group of centaurs and taken to their city, Malora must decide whether the comforts of her new home and family are worth the parts of herself she must sacrifice to keep them.

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Blurb from Goodreads:

I was worried about reading this book because I don’t know much about centaurs and have never read a book with centaurs as lead characters. It was intriguing and entertaining to read. A bit slow to start and some questions were left unresolved. This is the first book in the series so I hope in the future certain questions are answered. That being said, I liked the book in totality.

Malora is a great main character. She cares a lot for her horses and remains true to her nature for most of the book. Malora is driven into the wild when Leatherwings (bat-like creatures) annihilate her village and she finds refuge with wild horses. She is later rescued from a flash flood by the centaurs, specifically Orion (who I thought might be a love interest for Malora as weird as it might seem). She is the first of the people that centaurs have ever seen since the great massacre where the centaurs nearly cause the extinction of humans. The centaurs are fascinated but scared of her until she saves a Twani who happens to be a cat person. Aw, the Twanis in my head look like Puss in Boots and the Twani are refer like that. So cute. They also remind me of house elves from Harry Potter but seem way cuter than house elves.

She is taken to their city and properly educated meaning she learns to read. And this is where I have problems with the setting and time. I have no idea what time period this is. I do know that they have Shakespeare’s work as well as Stephanie Meyer so I see a problem. Not with Meyer but her stuff is pretty recent and humans have stopped writing for quite awhile. The book is set in the distant future but humans are pretty primitive and there is no advanced technology. The medicine consists of herbs and salves, carriages not cars, and handmade items. All that comes into mind is The Planet of the Apes movie. I would feel so much more comfortable if there was date on the book. Not that a date would help the book but it would make the book feel more grounded.

Going along with the Planet of the Apes dystopia feeling, the book would be better if it contain an explanation as to how the centaurs, the twani and a half-goat man came into being. This book is set in the distant future so some evolution or medical achievement gone wrong helped give birth to the new creatures that proceeded to eradicate humans. I like to know what it was since it would bring realism into a fantasy setting.

Most of the characters were likable, there wasn’t much ambivalent about their personality. Orion has a good heart but there might be some hidden darkness within him that he is afraid to reveal. Nathan, another centaur, still keeps in touch with Orion even though they claimed to no longer be friends. There is an interesting back story between them that has yet to be told.

The politics of the book is very interesting. There are Highlander Centaurs and Flatlanders Centaurs. The Highlander are essentially the rich people and people with skills versus the Flatlanders who are simple people and workers. There is a growing dissatisfaction with the Flatlanders with the system that treats them as second class citizens. Nothing serious happens in this book but there is always the next book. Another distinction is the Edicts that Highlanders maintain, basically the Ten Commandments except the Edicts are taken more seriously by the Highlanders than the Flatlanders. The women have to cover their hair in order to not entice the males and all Highlanders are forbidden from eating meat and drinking alcohol. Overall, the Highlanders act like nobles, very conservative, and are squeamish about most things while the Flatlanders are portrayed as more common people. Neither of the centaurs are like the Harry Potter centaurs.

In the end, the book is an interesting read. At times, the book feels jumpy. One moment, the horses are training for the Golden Horse race and the next moment, they are in the stadium. There was no gentle transition or warning. Some characters were introduced and then just completely forgotten. I hope this was for a chance at in-depth character look in the second book. This book is a set up for future books since it gave multiple plot bunnies for the next book. There could be rouge centaurs attacking the city, people attacking the city, the intro of Lume (Malora’s dream boyfriend), an uprising by the Flatlanders and so on. It could go in any direction. There is promise for the second book.

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4 BB-Ready for capture

Quick Glance Review: Hera (Eleis Chronicles) by Chrystalla Thoma

A Quick Glance Review is meant for short stories. This is not a full-length novel.

Title: Hera (Eleis Chronicles)
Author: Chrystalla Thoma
Series: Prequel to Rex Rising
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy
Source: Amazon
Format: Ebook
Pub. Year: 2011
Purchase: Amazon/B&N

I received this book from Amazon free of charge in exchange for an honest review. It still is available free of charge on Amazon and B&N.

Blurb from  Amazon:
Hera, member of the Gultur race governing the Seven Islands, thought she knew right from wrong and what her future held in store. A chance meeting with a lesser mortal, though, will turn her world upside down and force her to see her race and the laws with different eyes. For Hera, knowledge means action, so she sets out to put things right and change her world.

Taking place in the World of the Seven Islands almost three years before the events in Rex Rising, this is the story of Hera’s first confrontation with the truth.

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I usually don’t go for prequels unless I have read the first book but it was named Hera so I had to show love to another Greek goddess. That being said, I love this short story/novellete. It was awesome.

It is very short, very fast paced, and very entertaining. The best way to describe it is as a war between Gultur, genetically-enhanced humans, and regular humans as an enslaved class. It reminded me of Stargate SG-1 with the Tokra species. The Gultur are like the Tokra (parasites that inhabit a human as host) and the Gultur have to inherit Regina, the parasite. That’s why I viewed them as similar but not completely alike.

Hera is a Gultur who is a strong-willed character and definitely did not go with the ideology that is being imposed on her. She doesn’t blindly believe what she is told and searches for an undiluted version of the truth. I found that to be very compelling in her that she was horrified at what her people were doing even though she was raised to believe that the Gultur’s actions were correct.

I will be purchasing the first book, Rex Rising so this novellete earns 5 Black Butterflies. Why? Because it did its job in appealing to me to buy the first book.  I want to know what does Hera do after she meets with the Resistance, why are all the young girls separated from their mothers and why are they not allowed to see their mothers.  Interesting questions that may be answer in the first book.
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5 BB- Total Keeper

2012 Dystopia Reading Challenge

Who doesn’t love the idea of a dystopian book? I sure do, especially since I’m firm believer that zombies running amok is not as far-fetched as some people would love to believe.

Details: Runs from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012
Hosted by: Benji, The Non Reluctant Reader

The Levels:

  • Easy: Read 5-8 books.
  • Medium: Read 8-14 books.
  • Hard: 15-20 books.
  • So Hard it Would Have it’s Own Apocalypse!: 21+

I’m going with Hard so 15-20 YA books. There are so many that I want to read.

  1. Hollowland– Amanda Hocking
  2. Across The Universe– Beth Revis
  3. Memento Nora– Angie Smibert
  4. Dead Tropics– Sue Edge
  5. Waiting for Daybreak– Amanda McNeil
  6. The Z Word– Bella Street
  7. Wolf’s Rain vol. 1– Keiko Nobumoto
  8. Wolf’s Rain Vol. 2– Keiko Nobumoto