Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Talented by Sophie Davis ~ Review

Title: Talented
Author: Sophie Davis
Publication Date: January 11, 2012
Pages: 316
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Rating: 3 stars

Summary: When Talia Lyons was just a child, her parents were murdered before her eyes. Offered a choice between accepting their fate and exacting revenge, Talia trains to become one of the country’s deadliest assassins in order to kill the man responsible for their deaths: Ian Crane. Luckily, Talia was born with a gift- the ability to read and influence the minds of others. At sixteen, Talia is poised to graduate from the McDonough School for the Talented, where she learned to control her abilities. Now there is only one obstacle standing between her and the retribution she craves... Talia herself.

Her greatest asset may also be her undoing; while a formidable weapon in the field, Talia’s talents prevent her from both shutting off the mental connection she shares with her questionable boyfriend and blocking out the thoughts of a beguiling fellow recruit. But Talia can’t afford to have the feelings and distractions of a normal teenage girl, when her life is far from normal.

She must regain the single-minded determination that has brought her this far, or it may cost Talia her life when she finally faces Crane. And even after being molded in to a weapon of war, she’ll still have to find the strength it takes to pull the trigger.

I was really looking forward to this. That cover is especially pretty and caught my eye! For some reason, I couldn't get it out of my thick skull that this was going to be a lot like Teen Titans meets X-Men. Sadly, it wasn't.

It may be that's why I didn't enjoy it as much. I liked the characters, and the idea of the story. However, the plot moved along a bit too slowly for my liking. Talia is strong heroine who doesn't have many friends and prefers it that way. It was interesting to see the strong, silent type on a girl. Well at least for the first half. As the summary suggest there is a love triangle. Talia gets tied up midway through the novel over her beguiling boyfriend, Donavon, and her alluring team member, Erik. Really could've done without the triangle here. It took away from the plot and turned Talia into another Mary Sue for me. 

If we'd skipped the triangle and endless history lessons (it was explained at least five times on how the world got to where it was), then maybe we would get more than a tiny smackerel of a fascinating plot line. Oh yes, the book ended on a high note and left me anticipating the sequel.

The world building, (though repetitive) was fascinating. The U.S. is split into two, there's another civil war but this time it's over mutants, or the Talented as they're called. Near the end, Talia faces her opposition and it's hinted that things aren't all black and white like she was led to believe. The ending both aroused and frustrated me. Believe you me, that's not always a bad thing my loves ;) Like I said earlier, Talia is strong, but also stubborn and that's something that is showcased many times throughout the story. It's another thing I really do like about this book. The characters stay in character! What a thought! For example, her stubbornness gets in the way of revealing some heavy truths and I expect that's so we can have the cliffhanger ending we get. But I actually didn't mind the cliffhanger because Talia's actions felt right. It felt exactly like a thing Talia would do! And it's not only Talia that stays in character but every character we meet is unique, fresh, and they stay that way. It's a wonderful story, I just wished it could've bee presented differently.

So tell me your thoughts. Do you agree or disagree?

Provided by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review. Thank you!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski ~ Review

Title: Don't Even Think About It
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Publication Date: March 11, 2014
Pages: 336
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy

Rating: 4.5 stars

Summary: We weren't always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn't expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we've kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what's coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.
So stop obsessing about your ex. We're always listening.

A light, fun read. I finished this one in only a few hours. 

I was intrigued in the way this story is told. We don't get the first person POV, it's in 3rd. But I still feel close to the characters. It's also told as a community, we don't get one characters view on things, but rather everyone's. It was very entertaining and I liked it!

I think what surprised me the most was the change in these characters as they come into their new power. Nearly every character went through a dramatic change, either emotionally or within their personality. Another surprise was to find out that Olivia was my favorite character at the end, because honestly, she bugged me the most in the beginning. 

I think this is a good start for those interested in science fiction. It's very light hearted but there are some serious tones for science fans. 

What are your thoughts? Any other good mind reading books you know of?

Provided by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review. Thank you!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Alpha Goddess by Amalie Howard ~ Review

Title: Alpha Goddess
Author: Amalie Howard
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Pages: 384
Genre: Young Adult, Mythology, Fantasy

Rating: 4.5 stars

Summary: In Serjana Caelum’s world, gods exist. So do goddesses. Sera knows this because she is one of them. A secret long concealed by her parents, Sera is Lakshmi reborn, the human avatar of an immortal Indian goddess rumored to control all the planes of existence. Marked by the sigils of both heaven and hell, Sera’s avatar is meant to bring balance to the mortal world, but all she creates is chaos. A chaos that Azrath, the Asura Lord of Death, hopes to use to unleash hell on earth.

Torn between reconciling her past and present, Sera must figure out how to stop Azrath before the Mortal Realm is destroyed. But trust doesn’t come easy in a world fissured by lies and betrayal. Her best friend Kyle is hiding his own dark secrets, and her mysterious new neighbor, Devendra, seems to know a lot more than he’s telling. Struggling between her opposing halves and her attraction to the boys tied to each of them, Sera must become the goddess she was meant to be, or risk failing, which means sacrificing the world she was born to protect.

Avatar: The Last Airbender has ruined me for "bringing balance" to the world. All I can picture is Aang and his white, glowing eyes when I think of those words.

Anyway, I really fell in love with the mythology in Alpha Goddess. I've only just read the Ramayana last year, so I was excited when the epic was introduced and tied into the story. Hinduism is an amazing religion and their culture is so exotic from the American lifestyle I live in. If you've never read the Ramayana or experienced any Hindu culture, I highly recommend it!

As far as the story, I felt it started off very slow. The summary gives us an idea that our MC, Sera already knows she is an extraordinary individual, like she already has the idea that she's a goddess. But no. Sera is clueless. Still, I liked her. She is a strong individual with good morals and, more importantly, she stood by them.

Once Sera realizes what she is, the pace picks up and things start going by fast. If you're not paying attention, you will get lost. A lot of Hindu terms are thrown around and some look and sound very similar to one another. I'd strongly recommend a glossary for this book.

The summary also gives us a hint of a love triangle, something I've started to become sick of in all YA's. Seriously, not every girl is in love with two boys. Now having just said that, the love triangle in this book wasn't over the top. It didn't get in the way of the plot. It actually enhanced it a bit. Shocker, I know. More shocking I think, is that I actually enjoyed both boys trying to woo our MC.

There's Dev, who's sweet and perfect in nearly every way. He's the rock, solid and always there. Then there's Kyle, Sera's best friend. He's explosive, a bad boy with major issues. I liked Kyle's character at the start. Even with his bad rap, he shows a very caring side with Sera. Towards the end though, I couldn't stay abreast of his motives and mood swings. Kyle's incredibly complex and while I wanted to like him, I just couldn't. Maybe it was just the way he came off. Who knows.

All in all, I highly recommend. The characters were great (just because I don't like Kyle, doesn't mean he's bad), the plot felt real and even smart. I loved the mythology, easily my favorite part!

I also loved the cover. Did you see it? Scroll back up, I'll wait. Gorgeous, right? I think I would have liked it more if we saw Sera in her deifyre form. (No, that's not misspelled.) Oh well, it's still beautiful.

Have you read Alpha Goddess? Let me know what you think!

Provided by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review. Thank you!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Kinetic by S.K. Anthony ~ Review

Title: Kinetic
Author: S.K. Anthony
Publication Date: September 20, 2013
Pages: 336
Genre: Young Adult, Superhero, Fantasy

Rating: 2 stars

Summary: Being strong is one thing. Being an unlimited source of power is quite another.

Genetically altered by the Organization, Annie Fox takes down criminals CIA-style with her luminary strength. With nothing to mend but her broken heart, she is relentlessly pursued by her boss Derek Lake. Just when Annie is about to give him a chance, her ex-husband unexpectedly comes out of hiding.

A wanted man, Nick Logan is a cold-hearted murderer who is considered enemy number one, and orders are clear: kill on contact. He is more powerful than ever and threatens the lives of those she holds most dear. His plan? Get his hands on Annie and use her Kinetic energy to destroy them all. When Annie finds herself with an opportunity to end him, she pauses, horrified by the scars covering the face she once loved. A split second that will cost her everything…

I'm sorry guys. This just wasn't the book for me, I guess.

My main gripe is that this is a new series, right? I mean there are no other books about the Luminaries. This is the first book to the series. I should have no idea what Luminaries are, what they do, or what kind of world they live in. Nothing, nada, no habla ingles.

So when an author throws the reader into a new universe without any sort of build up, without laying down some cards, I get understandably confused. Which leads to frustration. Which leads to rereading. Please don't get me wrong. I like to reread books. At the end. When they're already finished. When a book is so good, I just can't put it down yet. (Divergent did this to me.) I do not like to reread to clarify something going on in the novel. To go back and forth between the pages for things to make sense. This is what this book did to me.

I was thrown in and I drowned. Fast. (I even reread the first 70-something pages. Just stopped where I was and started over. Didn't help.)

Then came the characters. Many of the characters were bland for me. Vanilla pudding bland. And in a large cast of characters, I quickly became confused as to who was who. This happened much too frequently. For instance our MC, Annie, has two best friends. And they were interchangeable. No, really. You could have swapped them around and they would still be exactly the same. There was no character to these characters. 

And speaking of the main character. Ughhh! No, just no. There are so many things I disliked about Annie, I was sincerely hoping that both love interests would just turn away from her and be with better, more deserving people. But alas, it didn't happen. 

I feel bad because when you look at the reviews on goodreads, there are many positive reviews. I'm sad that I can't be one of them.

I will admit that the only reason this book has more than one star is because of that gorgeous, eye-catching cover. I wish the inside was just as pretty. 

Provided by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review. Thank you!