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Book Review: Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

Nyxia

Nyxia

Release date: September 12th 2017

4.5 stars

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.
Forever.
Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.
But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

This book caught me by surprise. I wasn’t too sure about the premise when I picked it up but once I started reading it, I was completely sucked in by the story and the characters. It felt like every time the teens started to get comfortable, something else was thrown at them, and at the readers. It was fast-paced, which made for a quick read, and when I was finished, I really, really wanted the next book.

Emmett had many reasons for wanting the chance to go to Eden. The money Babel was offering, the health care for his family, was too good not to fight for his spot, which became necessary when the group found out only eight of them would actually succeed in being chosen to go to Eden. Emmett was a good guy and I liked seeing the walls he’d put up as he tried to think of the others as only competition start to crumble as they became friends. They became a family, as dysfunctional as they were. He could be very quick to anger and point out when he thought something was unfair but he was also protective when it came to his friends.

There were many great supporting characters and I ended up liking most of the group Emmett was in direct competition with, especially Kaya and Bilal. I also really liked Jaime, Katsu, and Azima. They were a very diverse group but they all had the common goal of being one of the eight selected to go to Eden. The adults on the ship were more suspicious and it was easy to start thinking there was more going on that the teens were told.

The competition aspect of the plot took up most of the book. The teens were pitted against each other at all levels. How they could use and manipulate Nyxia(the substance they were being sent to Eden to mine), how they fought against each other in simulations, how they worked as a team, to the point where it felt like everything they did they were being judged and scored on. It was a constant reminder that no one was safe, no matter how ahead they were in points. It was what made the book so fast-paced and, combined with all the twists, made me so excited for the next book.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Invictus

Invictus

Release date: September 26th 2017

4 stars

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.

Invictus feels like one of those books I was going to love based on the synopsis alone. A group of misfits in space? Where do I sign up? It had time travel, action, great characters, and was very well-paced. I was completely sucked into this book. It had a Doctor Who, Firefly vibe to it, and anyone who knows my pop culture obsessions knows that’s an immediate plus in my books.

Far had been training so hard to become a time traveler like his mother but he failed his final exam. When he got the chance to work for a black market operator, to be a captain of his own ship and time travel with his own crew, he can’t say no. I loved Far as a character. He was so determined and passionate about time travel and finding out who had sabotaged his final test. He was protective of his crew and it added a great dynamic between all the characters that I was definitely a fan of reading.

The supporting cast was great. They were all so different but still fit perfectly together. They really were one big family. Imogene with her log updates was hilarious, Gram was so adorably awkward, Priya was more reserved, and Elliot was the one I found the hardest to get to know but he was still great.

The descriptions of the time periods the crew visited were so well done. It was so easy to picture the locations and the scenery. It was great. I liked the way the crew’s missions interwove with the mystery of who the girl who kept showing up during their mission was, along with the mystery of what had happened to Far’s mother. I thought Ryan Graudin did a great job balancing all the story plots so they complimented each other instead of feeling like three stories crammed into one book.

The book works perfectly as a standalone, which is what it is, but I would definitely not to sad to hear of a companion novel one day.

*I received a copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Haul

It’s been way, way too long since I’ve done one of these posts so in lieu of a review today, I’m doing a book haul. A large one.

Bought:

Saints and MisfitsDazzling HeightsThe Broken WorldIf there's no tomorrowThey Both Die At the EndCrystal BladeReturnedWarbringerWhen It's Real

Buying soon:

Tower of DawnWarcross15797848One Dark ThroneLanguage of ThornsAutoboyography

ARCs:

Queen's RisingLove, Life, and the ListHonor Among ThievesHeart of IronEverlessDangerous Art of Blending inKat and MegOtherworldMoxieFireblood

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June Wrap-Up/July TBR

How did it get to be halfway through the year already?

June Wrap-Up:

Words in Deep Blue Words in Deep Blue – Cath Crowley. 3/5 stars. This was a really cute story with some angst. A good option for a summer read. I did find it a little predictable though.

Internet Famous Internet Famous – Danika Stone. 3.5/5 stars. Review. I loved how this one had some elements of All the Feels but showed the darker side of fandom.

lucky-in-love Lucky in Love – Kasie West. 4/5 stars. Review. Super cute but it is Kasie West so I expected that:)

Furthermore Furthermore – Tahereh Mafi. 3.5/5 stars. It was enjoyable but I did find I had a hard time getting into it. I think it was more me and the timing than the book. Will probably try re-reading to see if I can get more into it during the Fall.

Warcross Warcoss – Marie Lu. 4/5 stars. Review. I love Marie Lu and this book shows why. It’s addicting and has some amazing characters.

Our Broken Pieces Our Broken Pieces – Sarah White. 3/5 stars. It was a good read but the characters weren’t my favourite. I had a hard time relating to them

Dress Codes for Small Towns Dress Codes for Small Towns – Courtney C Stevens. 4/5 stars. Review. I love Courtney C Stevens. Saying this book was my least favourite of her three doesn’t mean it’s a bad book, just that I really loved the first two I read. This was more character driven and just friends hanging out and discovering who they were.

The Beautiful and the cursed The Beautiful and the Cursed – Page Morgan. 3.5/5 stars. I was really hoping to be blown away but I wasn’t. I had a hard time getting into this one as well.

Roar Roar – Cora Carmack. 4/5 stars. I enjoyed this one. The main girl was sassy, I liked the world that was created, and the supporting cast was great.

Dazzling Heights The Dazzling Heights – Katharine McGee. 4/5 stars. Review. This sucked me in just as much as the first one did. I can’t wait to see where this is going.

The Glass Spare The Glass Spare – Lauren DeStefano. 3.5/5 stars. Review. This one went to places I wasn’t expecting and I liked that. And amazing sibling bonds!

Frigid Frigid – Jennifer L Armentrout. 4/5 stars. Might not be my favourite by her but it was still great.

Genuine Fraud Genuine Fraud – E Lockhart. 3/5 stars. I had high hopes after We Were Liars but this one was very predictable.

This Darkness Mine This Darkness Mine – Mindy McGinnis. 4/5 stars. This seemed to be the month for reading books by favourite authors and being a little disappointed. This one was still great, loved the darkness and the characters, but not as great as The Female of the Species.

If there's no tomorrow If There’s No Tomorrow – Jennifer L Armentrout. 4/5 stars. Really enjoyed this one, especially the main character.

Laney big Laney – Joann I Martin Sowles. 3.5/5 stars. I was in the mood for some vampire and hadn’t read this series yet. It’s interesting so far.

Darkness Darkness – Joann I Martin Sowles. 3.5/5 stars. I was in the mood for some vampire and hadn’t read this series yet. It’s interesting so far.

July TBR:

One Dark ThroneBefore She IgnitesArt of FeelingEven the Darkest Stars

 

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Book Review: The Dazzling Heights by Katherine McGee

Dazzling Heights

The Dazzling Heights

Release date: August 29th 2017

4 stars

New York, 2118. Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a breathtaking marvel that touches the sky. But amidst high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, five teenagers are keeping dangerous secrets…
LEDA is haunted by memories of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’ll do anything to make sure the truth stays hidden–even if it means trusting her enemy.
WATT just wants to put everything behind him…until Leda forces him to start hacking again. Will he do what it takes to be free of her for good?
When RYLIN wins a scholarship to an upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being there means seeing the boy whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.
AVERY is tormented by her love for the one person in the world she can never have. She’s desperate to be with him… no matter the cost.
And then there’s CALLIOPE, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who arrives in New York, determined to cause a stir. And she knows exactly where to begin.
But unbeknownst to them all, someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. And in a world of such dazzling heights, just one wrong step can mean a devastating fall.

I really enjoyed The Thousandth Floor last year, it was one of the books that surprised me with how much I got into it. It was like a futuristic Gossip Girl in some ways. This sequel stuck with the similar format that the first book had. Start with a scene from the future then go back a few months to show how events led up to that point while alternating between the POVs of a few characters. I found the multi-POV really worked because all the characters were so different. It was easy not to get them confused.

Watt and Rylin were my two favourites. Maybe it was because they came from lower floors so they weren’t the rich elite and I found them a bit more relatable than Leda and Avery, or even new character Calliope. I was a bit surprised at how much I found myself feeling sympathetic toward Leda in this book. She wasn’t my favourite in the first book, not by far, but she was paying for a lot of the mistakes she made, mistakes that maybe could have been prevented if her father had been more truthful. Avery I went back and forth on. Sometimes I felt empathy toward her but sometimes I was wishing she would stop to consider other people’s opinions. Calliope was a good addition. She and her mother were con artists and offered a new insight into the characters she met.

The plot centered mostly around the characters dealing with the events from book one and trying to move on in various ways. Their plans didn’t quite happen the way they were expecting or hoping and new wrinkles would appear just as they thought maybe things were turning their way. Calliope was the only character POV who wasn’t present for the first book so it was interesting to see her thoughts as they were fresh to the whole story.

I thought the author did a great job with the pacing, sucking me right into the plot, and with the varied POVs. There wasn’t one time I was wishing to be in someone else’s POV. This book, even with all the healing the characters were trying to do, ended up being a little darker than the first. We see just how far people are willing to go to protect their secrets. It also means the setup for the last book is fantastic.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Waiting on Wednesday

New WoW

This is a feature started on Breaking the Spine that puts the spotlight on upcoming books.

This week’s pick is:

Dare Mighty Things

Dare Mighty Things

Release date: October 10th 2017

Goodreads: THE RULES ARE SIMPLE: You must be gifted. You must be younger than twenty-five. You must be willing to accept the dangers that you will face if you win.
Seventeen-year-old Cassandra Gupta’s entire life has been leading up to this—the opportunity to travel to space. But to secure a spot on this classified mission, she must first compete against the best and brightest people on the planet. People who are as determined as she to win a place on a journey to the farthest reaches of the universe.
Cassie is ready for the toll that the competition will take; the rigorous mental and physical tests designed to push her to the brink of her endurance. But nothing could have prepared her for the bonds she would form with the very people she hopes to beat. Or that with each passing day it would be more and more difficult to ignore the feeling that the true objective of the mission is being kept from her.
As the days until the launch tick down and the stakes rise higher than ever before, only one thing is clear to Cassie: she’ll never back down . . . even if it costs her everything.

Why I’m excited: I love Sci-Fi and this one is giving me a bit of a competitive Space Cases vibe.

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Book Review: Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross

Warcross

Release date: September 12th 2017

4 stars

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.
Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

I have never played the kinds of games mentioned in this book, or even anything similar, so I was a little worried going in that it might be hard to lose myself in the story. But it’s Marie Lu and I’m pretty sure she could write any plot and have me get lost in her words and her story. The plot focused a lot on gaming and technology but it didn’t stray off into an area I, as a non-gamer, couldn’t understand. I enjoyed all the action of the game, the saboteur plot, and the dynamics between the team Emika was chosen to be on as a part of her cover in the Warcross Championships.

Emika was an amazing character. I loved how hard she fought even when it seemed like there was no hope. She refused to give up. She was protective, determined, and smart. She was a brilliant hacker, which helped her a lot of the time but also got her into trouble. Turned out glitching her way into the Warcross Championship was a good thing for her since it led to a job offer and we got to see her at her best, tracking down information on a threat to the Games. With the plot being very heavy on the Warcross game and the set-up to the Championships, Emika was really the only character to get a lot of development. We saw her go from someone who barely trusted anyone to opening up to her team and relying on people other than herself.

I’m excited to see how the supporting characters development in this series. I really liked Emika’s teammates in the Warcross Championships and hope we get to see a lot more of them. They didn’t have a whole lot of screentime(pagetime) but still made an impression. I also liked the flirty banter between Emika and Hideo. It should be interesting to see how all the relationships between these characters progress in the series.

The plot had a lot of action, fast-paced, but still detailed enough so that a non-gamer like me could understand the happenings of the game as they were playing it. It sounded like a cool game. The whole book felt like it would look fantastic on the big screen(if they didn’t ruin it). I ended up finishing this in under two days because I just didn’t want to put it down. I had so many theories and I needed to know if they were right. Plus with Marie Lu, I never want to stop reading until the book is finished.

*I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review*

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Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

Every time I think it’s getting warmer so I can start to read outside, Mother Nature tricks me and it gets cold again. And rainy.

Currently reading: If Birds Fly Back

Finished reading: dividing-edenavengedThe Gauntletdreamfall

Reviewed: Girl out of waterEliza and her monsters

What I’m hoping to get to next week: gentlemans-guideArt of starving to read

avengeddreamfall to review

Books read it 2017: 73

Debut authors read in 2017: 21

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April Wrap-Up/May TBR

How is it May already? *Looks at all the books coming out this month*….IT’S MAY!!!

April Wrap-Up:

Ramona Blue Ramona Blue – Julie Murphy. 2.5/5 stars. Review. I had a hard time connecting with the main character.

traitors-kiss The Traitor’s Kiss – Erin Beatty. 3/5 stars. Review. This was another one where I had a hard time liking the main character.

See Me See Me – Wendy Higgins. 3.5/5 stars. Not my favourite by Wendy Higgins but still a really good book.

one-of-us-is-lying One of Us is Lying – Karen M McManus. 4/5 stars. Review. I really enjoyed the characters, the twists, and the whole concept.

Windfall Windfall – Jennifer E Smith. 3.5/5 stars. Review. Very typical Jennifer E Smith in all the good ways.

House of Furies House of Furies – Madeleine Roux. 4/5 stars. Very creepy. I really liked the Poe vibe this book was giving me.

Once and For All Once and For All – Sarah Dessen. 4/5 stars. A perfect summer read. I loved the coworkers to friends to lovers dynamic.

Warbringer Wonder Woman: Warbringer – Leigh Bardugo. 4/5 stars. Review. Leigh Bardugo plus Wonder Woman is a great combination.

inconceivable-life-of-quinn The Inconceivable Life of Quinn – Marianna Baer. 3/5 stars. I was really excited for this one since it was compared to Jane the Virgin but I felt it was missing that whip smart humour and quirkiness that made me fall in love with Jane.

Defy the Stars Defy the Stars – Claudia Gray. 4/5 stars. Review. I absolutely fell in love with these two characters and their dynamics.

No Good Deed No Good Deed – Goldy Moldavsky. 3.5/5 stars. This was a fun, funny read that really made me want to finally pick up Kill the Boy Band.

Antisocial Antisocial – Jillian Blake. 3.5/5 stars. This one was a little scary with how easily the whole school was hacked and their secrets exposed.

Eliza and her monsters Eliza and her Monsters – Francesca Zappia. 4.5/5 stars. Review. Definitely labeling this as a must read.

Girl out of water Girl out of Water – Laura Silverman. 3.5/5 stars. Review. If the book had been a bit less predictable, the rating would be higher. It was still very enjoyable and I liked the romance.

Four weeks Five People Four Weeks, Five People – Jennifer yu. 3/5 stars.

dreamfall Dreamfall – Amy Plum. 4/5 stars. I love Amy Plum and this book had some great twists.

The Gauntlet The Gauntlet – Megan Shepherd. 3.5/5 stars. I’ve really been enjoying this series. This was my least favourite of the three but it was still good. I figured out a few of the twists early on so it made it a little less enjoyable than being caught off-guard.

avenged Avenged – Amy Tintera. 4/5 stars. Holy sequel! I really enjoyed Ruined but I enjoyed this one even more. If the series keeps getting better, that only means amazing things.

May TBR:

dividing-edenBad Romancethis-is-how-it-happenedIf Birds Fly Back

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Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

Well, hockey playoffs didn’t last too long in this house. More time to read:)

Currently reading: dreamfall

Finished reading: Four weeks Five PeopleGirl out of waterEliza and her monstersAntisocial

Reviewed: WarbringerDefy the Stars

What I’m hoping to get to next week: avengedThe Gauntlet to read

Girl out of waterEliza and her monsters to review

Books read it 2017: 69

Debut authors read in 2017: 21

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