Friday, May 15, 2015

Book Review: Reboot

Alright, so I bought Reboot quite a while ago, but I hadn’t had the chance to read it until now. Now I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner. Without further ado, here is...
Reboot by Amy Tintera
Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.
Series: Reboot, #1
Age: 14 years and up
Review: 5 butterflies
Reboot starts off en medias res, which is one of my favorite ways of beginning a book. Wren is on assignment, which means she’s doing the HARC’s—the government’s—dirty work, bringing what the HARC deems a “criminal.” She’s emotionless and follows all orders, because that’s what she’s been trained to do. It also helps that she’s a 178, which means she was dead for one-hundred seventy-eight minutes before she “rebooted.”

You see, the cool (and extremely original) thing about this book is that some humans—mostly young ones—die and, if they had the KDH virus at some point in their lives, they reboot. Reboots are faster, stronger, and heal quicker than humans, but there’s a catch. They feel less emotion than humans do. In other words, they’re less human. The more time between your death and your reboot, the less human you are. Because of this, humans shunned them and the HARC made them into their little soldiers. Humans are still terrified of Reboots, but because of the fact that they outweigh Reboots in number, they have control over them.

For now.

That’s when the story comes in. Wren is the highest number Reboot, which means she’s special to the HARC. She’s stronger, faster, and less human than any other Reboot, which makes her the perfect soldier. She never questions orders, and why should she? The HARC has given her a better life than she had as a child.

Wren is really relatable, which is funny to say because she’s supposed to be the least human out of all of the characters. But she’s been trained to be less human, trained to kill without thought, and trained to stamp down any emotion she does have. I can completely understand why she does what she does, and I never once judge her. Her backstory is truly devastating, and I love that she isn’t perfect—that she has issues—because it makes her even more realistic.

Callum is a 22. This means he’s practically still human, which makes him undesirable to the HARC, but they still give him a shot. He’s essentially the comic relief of the whole novel, as well as the spark that lit the fire under Wren. Because of Callum, Wren is beginning to question the HARC, as well as wonder if she’s doing the right thing. However, when one of Wren’s friends suffers the consequences of the HARC’s choices, Wren must face a difficult choice that will change her life and many others around her.

I loved the characters in this novel. They were all extremely relatable, and it was super interesting to see the humans as the “bad guys” in this novel, while the Reboots were just victims in everything. Some humans are okay, like Len, but others are downright despicable and believe all the lies the HARC ever told them. All of the characters’ backstories—Wren’s especially—made them truly three-dimensional, which is something I definitely love in a novel.

I found myself not wanting to stop reading and constantly turning the pages to see what happened next. The book was action-packed, but not to an extreme, which allowed me to keep reading hours at a time. Tintera truly found a way to balance everything in the novel, which made for a fantastic read. I definitely look forward to any more novels of hers.

Though this book is part of a series, it doesn’t end in a true cliffhanger. Some might still want to know what happens, but I found myself perfectly satisfied with the ending this novel had. I will still be on the lookout for the next books in the series, but it’s not completely necessary if you feel comfortable with the ending.

I highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves science fiction, action, relatable characters, and romance. Even if you generally don’t like romance, I still recommend this book for you, because there are still enough of other elements to not make this a romance novel, but the romance is an important factor in it. In general, if you like losing yourself in a book, this book is for you.
Book links: Goodreads * Amazon * B&N * IndieBound


Friday, May 8, 2015

Book Review: Zodiac

I first found this book as I was roaming about a bookstore. I didn’t plan on buying a book (foolish me—thinking I could leave a bookstore without buying anything), but this book caught my eye. From the colorful cover to the original premise, this book seemed like just the thing I needed. I started reading it right there in the bookstore and ended up buying it an hour later. May I present...
Zodiac by Romina Russell
At the dawn of time, there were 13 Houses in the Zodiac Galaxy. Now only 12 remain…

Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancerian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

Embark on a dazzling journey with ZODIAC, the first novel in an epic sci-fi-meets-high-fantasy series set in a galaxy inspired by the astrological signs.
Series: Zodiac, #1
Age: 16 years and up
Review: 3.5 butterflies
Rhoma—or Rho, as her friends call her—is a teenage girl learning about her world and living her life when all of a sudden, an attack she had foreseen happens. She hadn’t told anyone about what she saw because she didn’t think it was real, but when the attack happens, she begins to trust herself. I do say begins, however, because throughout this book she doubts what she sees just as much as everyone else does.

Rho has a gift—she can see dark matter in the Ephemeris, which many others can’t. When she is forced to become the Guardian of the House of Cancer, she is thrown into a battle from which she will emerge changed forever.

Throughout this whole story, one thing happens right after another, which means that poor Rho doesn’t ever have time to breathe and assimilate all of the things that have happened to her. From the attack to the danger of Ochus attacking other Houses, she is constantly on the move, trying to protect other Houses from Cancer’s fate. Unfortunately, Rho’s age and lack of experience make her a target for a whole lot of skepticism, which means that many people don’t trust the warnings she gives them—especially because everyone thinks Ochus isn’t real. Because of this, very little of the other Guardians believe her—and no one supports her—not even Mathias, a person that is very close to Rho. Throughout this novel you never know who you can trust, and you find yourself constantly doubting the predictions you made for the novel.

Rho was a character I could very easily relate to—especially because as a young adult, I am confronted by many others who think my lack of experience and my age mean that I can’t ever know truly what I’m talking about. Her drive to help other people as well as her perseverance in the face of adversity makes her a truly worthy person to be the “Holy Mother,” as Cancerians call their Guardian. While Rho made decisions that I maybe would not have done, she is definitely someone that I would have the pleasure of knowing and looking up to.

Mathias is a very interesting character. Though all I truly know about him is through Rho’s perception of him, I feel like honestly we, as readers, didn’t get much insight into him. Mathias, for the most part, was quiet and moody—and many of Rho’s training sessions were slightly glossed over. I don’t think I really got to bond with Mathias because of everything else that was going on, which saddens me.

This book seems to have that fatal error of the secondary characters being back-up and the readers not actually being able to form a connection with them. The only secondary character that I felt like we got to know a little better is Hysan. Hysan is an “ambassador” for the House of Libra, and he is one of the few secondary characters I found myself actually caring about. Unfortunately for the author, the secondary characters tend to fall a little flat—being only two-dimensional. While that isn’t always a bad thing—especially with so many secondary characters being present—I do wish we could have gotten a better look at Mathias, Hysan, and Nishi.

However, what this book lacks in secondary-character depth, it makes up for in action. Event after event happened and this book was very much fast-paced. At times it felt like Rho didn’t even have time to breathe, because she was always traveling and getting attacked. The few times this book slowed down was when Rho was forming connections with other characters, but even these were sometime glossed over in exchange for the action. This book is definitely one of those that you have to take a small break every once in a while because of all the action and suspense (you’ll feel as exhausted as poor Rho!), but you’ll be opening the book soon after to find out what happens.

I definitely recommend this book for those looking for a protagonist that is coming of age while she’s trying to save the world, as well as a book that has fantasy, a lot of action, and a little bit of forbidden romance to spice things up. This is the first of an unfinished series, however, so read with the warning that you’re going to have to wait for the rest of the series to be written!
Book links: Goodreads * Amazon * B&N * Books-A-Million * IndieBound * Powell’s


Friday, May 1, 2015

Book Review: Dogs and Goddesses

What? I'm back? Why, yes I am! Classes are done and over with and the summer is coming along nicely. This means reviews! Yay! This book is one my local library was selling and it was very much recommended to me by a trusted friend, so I thought, why not? Here is this wonderful book!
Dogs and Goddesses by Jennifer Crusie, Anne Stuart, Lani Diane Rich
Abby has just arrived in Summerville, Ohio, with her placid Newfoundland, Bowser. She’s reluctantly inherited her grandmother’s coffee shop, but it’s not long before she’s brewing up trouble in the form of magical baked goods and steaming up her life with an exasperating college professor.

And then there’s Daisy, a web code writer, and her hyperactive Jack Russell, Bailey. Her tightly-wound world spins out of control when she discovers the chaos within and meets a mysterious dog trainer whose teaching style is definitely hands-on.

Finally there’s Shar, professor of ancient history at Summerville College, who wakes up one morning to find her neurotic dachshund, Wolfie, snarling at an implacable god sitting at her kitchen table, the first thing in her life she hasn’t been able to footnote.

What on earth is going on in this unearthly little town? It’s up to Abby, Daisy, and Shar to find out before an ancient goddess takes over Southern Ohio, and they all end up in the apocalyptic doghouse…
Age: Adult; 18 years and up
Review: 4.5 butterflies
This book was recommended to me by a friend, with the quote, “This books is sort of ridiculous but the good kind of ridiculous.” Now, I don’t know if I agree with her statement completely, but I do have to say it is a pretty interesting book. I wouldn’t call it ridiculous, but it’s definitely something I wouldn’t have considered. As you can tell from the title, this book involves both goddesses and dogs. If you were wondering if the dogs talk, yes they do.

This book features the three girls-turned-goddesses: Abby, Daisy, and Shar. Abby just moved to town because her grandmother died and left her a bakery. She needs space from her mother as well as some time to herself, so she’s content to live above the bakery. That is, of course, until a certain (hot and annoyingly logical) college professor comes and buts into her life. And, but of course, her dog Bowser is along for the ride.

Daisy’s mom, Peg, is suddenly allergic to her dog and gives it to Daisy until she can solve the problem with her allergies. Bailey, the hyperactive dog, is something that Daisy certainly didn’t sign up for and has no time for. She has no recourse but to keep the dog while her mother runs off, though, and through Bailey, she meets Noah, a very, very interesting man...

And lastly, Shar is an ancient history professor that is completely and utterly bored with her life. She broke up with her boyfriend because he wouldn’t take the next step and is suddenly wondering what she did with her life. This changes, however, when she meets a deliciously attractive god named Sam. (Well, actually, his name is Samu-La-El but that’s a mouthful so we’ll go with Sam).

All of these women, as if by fate (or an annoyingly controlling goddess) meet up at a “dog training class” and get thrown into a series of events that they have little control over and are entirely and completely hilarious.

The antagonist in his novel, the goddess Kammani (and her little obsessive sidekick Mina) is a really interesting character. At first I didn’t know what to make of her, and I didn’t know what she was going to be in the novel. She’s not really evil, she doesn’t know how to adjust to the modern world. (She was put to sleep for many centuries). She misses the days when everyone would worship her without question and hates that modern people have free will. Towards the end of the book, I came to pity her because it was clear she just really wanted to feel at home like she was when she was truly a Goddess. (Mina, on the other hand, is a little bitch).

All of the heroines were completely relatable and their reactions were all very realistic. They—and their one-liners—made this book the fantastic novel that it is. I loved reading about Abby, Daisy, and Shar and I was always curious as to what would happen next. I was always waiting to be surprised when I turned the page—and without fail, I always was. The book is a hilarious, magic-filled, romantic mess that I had the utmost pleasure of reading.

This is the perfect book to read when you’ve had too much seriousness and monotony in your life and need something light and funny to distract you. You’re sure to laugh and you’re always left wondering what messes all three girls will get themselves into. I definitely recommend this if you need a romance novel with a side of strong women, magic, dogs, and laughter.
Book links: Goodreads * Amazon * B&N * iTunes * Kobo * Google Books