Review: Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

Title: Salvage
Author: Alexandra Duncan
Rating: ★★★

I had really high hopes for this book. I’m not usually into science fiction novels, but the idea behind this one had me really interested. A girl forced to give up everything she knows to have a chance at life in a place that might kill her? I really wanted to read that. Unfortunately, there were just pieces that took me out of the novel.

Ava is the captain’s daughter on the merchant ship Parastrata. Even with her high connections, life for females isn’t great on the ship. They are expected to be quiet, demure, unquestioning girls who do what they are told and don’t hope for anything more. They aren’t taught to read, write, or do math. They are to tend the animals, take care of clothing, and have babies. The men are the only ones who can fix things, who can navigate a ship, or visit Earth. When Ava finds herself facing death, she decides to fight as hard as she can. She ends up coming to Earth and discovering that sharing blood doesn’t always mean family.

Ava tries hard, I’ll give her that. She makes mistakes, but instead of letting them shut her down, she finds a way to deal with the consequences. She’s been prepared for 17 years for a fate of babies and marriage, with little hope for anything else. It’s completely understandable that she has a hard time adjusting to life on Earth, where females aren’t controlled to the same degree, where they can learn and express themselves. She did have some growth when it came to this, but I wish there was a little more shown of her progression. She questions herself so much through the novel and at the very end, she’s changed. I would have liked to see a little more of the in-between moments that made her realize that the life she had before was not for her.

There’s a little romance in this novel, but it’s not the main point. It’s about Ava discovering family, both blood and chosen, and learning how she fits into the world. She leaves behind every person she knows, the people she thought were her family, and she discovers several people who actually care for her. I loved this angle of the story. It highlighted the importance of having people who care, who want to help, instead of people who simply share blood. Family is not completely genetic; it’s the people who love and care for every piece of you, not only the parts them deem acceptable.

I wish there was a little more explanation of the world. There’s a new way of speaking introduced, new worlds created, different cultures everywhere. It took me out of the novel a bit to try and figure all of this out. A little more background would have done wonders, in my opinion, and would have allowed me to enjoy the novel even more.

Salvage is a unique, female-driven science fiction novel. It’s something that can be difficult to find, but when it’s done right, it’s amazing. Salvage comes close to being amazing, but there are a few places where it falls a little flat. A little background and explanation would have made this book near perfection. If you’re a fan of science fiction, you’ll likely enjoy this book. If the genre isn’t usually your cup of tea, Salvage probably won’t be able to change your mind.

If Salvage sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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Thank you to Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Elusion by Claudia Gabel

Title: Elusion
Author: Claudia Gabel
Rating: ★★★

Elusion had me interested as soon as I read the description. This is a future world that I can picture. One where the world is a mess and people are looking to escape. Elusion gives people the ability to leave the real world and enter a place where everything feels good. It’s a great science fiction story that falls a little flat in some areas.

Regan’s father is the creator of Elusion, a collection of devices that take the user to a world where nothing hurts and everything is good. Her best friend Patrick is her father’s protégé, working together to create the devices and programs. Even though Regan should be close to the project, her father never included her much in the process, and now that he’s died, she is even less knowledgeable about the program. So when allegations are made against Elusion and its possible addictive side effects come to light, all Regan knows is she needs to defend her father since he can’t defend himself.

Regan has possibility. She wasn’t the strongest character in the beginning, but I can see her growing. She’s no longer taking a backseat; she’s fighting for a voice. She loses her mind around Josh a bit, but she’s also a teenager. Teens tend to do that. She’s not my favorite heroine I’ve read, but she does hold promise to grow.

I have some of the same issues with Josh. I feel like we know him on the surface, but there’s so much more we could know. He’s interesting and obviously good-looking, but I feel like we could dig so much deeper into his character. There’s nothing really wrong with him, but his character was missing some pieces.

The storyline itself drew me right in. It’s something different. I would have liked a little bit more world building, but it wasn’t vital to understand the story. The environment was secondary to the Elusion program. The state of the world was only important because it explained why people were so eager to escape.

Elusion has promise, but it didn’t quite live up to expectations. It was good, but it had the potential to be great. I’ll definitely read whatever comes next. This is a good read, but don’t expect to be absolutely blown away. Gabel’s writing gets stronger as the book goes on, so I have hopes for the next piece of the story.

If Elusion sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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Thank you to Edelwiess and Katherine Tegen Books for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Champion by Marie Lu

Title: Champion
Author: Marie Lu
Series: The Legend Trilogy
Rating: ★★★★★

The Legend series has gotten better with each book. After reading Legend, I didn’t think Lu could write anything better. Then I read Prodigy and was amazed at how Lu outdid herself, but was sure she couldn’t top it. There was no way. And then there was Champion. Even if she had written a novel that wasn’t as great as the first two, it would still be fantastic. But I loved this book even more than the first two. It’s not a “let’s wrap this up in the perfect bow” book. It’s a “let’s make an impact and give the characters the ending they deserve” book.

June is one of three Princeps-Elects. She is getting a firsthand experience in the world of politics. Day has a high-level military position and works to keep the peoples’ faith in the Republic. Despite their high ranks, life isn’t perfect for them. June feels out of place in politics, even though she knows it’s a position of high honor. Day is trying to move beyond the past and make a new life for him and his brother. But there’s a piece missing in their lives they both try to ignore. When they are brought together again because of a growing threat, they have to deal with saving the Republic and saving their relationship.

The characters are what make me love this novel. The plot and action are nice, but without the right characters, I probably wouldn’t have loved reading this book so much. June is analytical, but that’s the way she keeps her head when everything is falling apart around her. When she lets her guard down, though, she’s vulnerable and just wants something, someone real to hold on to. Day has a tough exterior, having to fight for everything growing up. But he cares so much for the people he loves that he would do anything to take pain away from them. These two characters alone are what make this novel so amazing, not to mention all the secondary characters.

I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I wasn’t sure how Lu would be able to end things. I had all these ideas and scenarios in my head, but none of them compared to what actually happened. Just when things look like they’re getting better, something pops up and a whole new plan has to be formed. I felt my heart drop at times, only to have it lodged in my throat a few moments later.

Champion is the best ending this series could have. It wrapped things up, but left pieces to the imagination of the reader. There’s tragedy and pain, but hope and happiness, too. This is the ending the characters deserved. The entire Legend series is a must read.

If Champion sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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Review: The Offering by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Offering
Author: Kimberly Derting
Series: The Pledge Trilogy
Rating: ★★★★

After reading The Pledge, I knew this series would be one that I loved. It had wonderful characters, and interesting storyline, and it was well written. Throughout the series, I have only fallen more in love. With the end of the series coming in The Offering, I knew I wasn’t ready yet. Once I read those final words, there was no going back. Sure, I can reread. But it’s never quite the same.

Charlie has done amazing things for her country. She’s brought back communications and removed the evils of Sabara from their country. She’s learned how to control Sabara’s Essence. She knows she’s doing the right things for her country, but with the eyes of everyone on her, she feels the pressure. A neighboring country has delivered a gruesome warning and the only way for her to keep war from entering her borders is to sacrifice herself. She’s not sure what will happen after she meets Queen Elena, but she knows she has to try to save her country.

Charlie finally comes into her own in this novel. She knows how to fight, but she knows how to think, too. Sure, she’s still nervous and has a few flaws, but they are what make her shine. She knows that her country cannot save a war and that one person’s life is not more valuable than another’s, but she is willing to give herself up in order to save her people. She shows true courage and I admire her for that.

Max, although not a huge presence in parts of the novel, is still as wonderful as ever. Whenever he was around, it was perfect. I could feel myself melting anytime the love he has for Charlie was shown. He’s courageous, yet vulnerable. He’s always ready to show Charlie just how much she means to him. I’m a little happy he’s not in the entire book, though. It makes the moments we see him even sweeter.

The story itself was fantastic. I’d always try to guess what was about to happen, and I’d maybe get a little piece right, but I was still shocked when things were revealed. The way Derting can throw something in that’s completely unexpected yet makes perfect sense is amazing. Her curveballs never feel like they were thrown in to make things more dramatic. They always feel like that was exactly how things were supposed to happen.

The Offering is an amazing end to a fantastic series. It has action, love, and a fantasy dystopia that’s perfect for the novel. It’s definitely a must read.

If The Offering sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

Title: Into the Still Blue
Author: Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky
Rating: ★★★★★

I had loved every book in this series. The world and characters Rossi created are so incredibly thought out and real that finishing this book felt like saying goodbye to friends. It was a sad feeling, but in the best possible way. After Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night, I had high hopes and expectations for Into the Still Blue. Rossi far exceeded everything I wanted for this book.

At the end of Through the Ever Night Perry had moved the Tides into the safety of a cave. They knew Hess and Sable had teamed up to travel to the Still Blue. They also had Cinder. Aether storms were getting worse and time was running out for everyone. Soon, the storms would destroy everything, including them. Perry brings a team together to rescue Cinder and steal enough hovers for the Tides population. The team is dysfunctional, though, and from the beginning things don’t always go to plan. The rest of the novel is filled with action, drama, romance, and everything I could have wanted.

The relationships in this book, in this series, are what make it so amazing. Of course there’s the love story between Aria and Perry. They’re just as wonderful in this book, having to go through a few rough patches before coming out stronger and better. But every relationship in the book is that way. They all have dimension and feel incredibly real. Aria and Roar have one of the best friendships I’ve read in a book. Rossi could have easily turned this into a love triangle, but she didn’t. Instead she created a friendship that I envy. They are always there for each other, and love each other, but it’s still friendship. One of the strongest I’ve ever read. Even the relationships with the more minor characters are fleshed out and wonderful.

I don’t want to go into too much about the plot. I don’t want to spoil any piece of this novel for anyone. But something I love about how Rossi writes is how she paces everything. It’s not action upon action upon action through the entire novel. Instead, she throws a lot at you, makes your heart race and your breath catch. Then she gives everyone a break, a few chapters to breathe and to recover. There’s sweetness and swoons, usually, in those breaks. The action and plot make you fall in love with the book, the pauses make you fall in love with the characters.

There were times when I was close to tears. Sometimes it was because of what was written. Other times it was because I knew I was nearing the end of the book. I’m not ready to leave the world of Aria and Perry, yet I also loved how the story ended. This is a series I will be reading over and over again. It’s nearly perfect in every way and I’m incredibly grateful to Rossi for writing it.

If Into the Still Blue sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for an advanced copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Perfect Ruin
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Internment Chronicles
Rating:
 ★★★★

DeStefano’s first series, The Chemical Garden, was a meh series for me. It just didn’t have the impact and wow factor I thought it would. I did like DeStefano’s writing style, though, which is why I gave Perfect Ruin a chance. It was worth it. Perfect Ruin pulled me right in and I had a hard time putting it down.

Morgan lives on Internment, the floating city in the sky. Everyone there is told to stay away from the edge and to be the best citizens they can be. It’s not enough for Morgan though. She wonders what the ground is like and what else there is to the world. She’s not content with what she’s told; she wants to know more. Her family has a black cloud hanging over their heads because Morgan’s brother Lex is what’s called a jumper. He tried to go off the edge. When he failed, he not only changed his life, but the lives of his entire family.

I liked Morgan. She’s a very relatable girl, with thoughts and dreams that any teen would have. She has a betrothed, a best friend, and a family. She’s smart and pretty. She seems to have everything someone on Internment would want, but she knows there’s more to the world and she can’t help my daydream about it. She’s brave and levelheaded, wanting to do what’s best for the group, although she does have her moments when she doesn’t think things all the way through.

I’m interested in seeing how DeStefano handles the romance side of things. I can see it going a couple ways and I know which one I would like to see. I’m going to place my trust in her, though, and hope she does what her characters need. I am loving Basil, though. He’s there for Morgan and believes in her when she stops believing in herself. He seems to truly care for her because he wants to, not because he was told to.

It will be interesting to see where the story goes from here. This is a concept I haven’t read in quite this way before. Yes, the idea of an isolated society existing without contact from the outside world is an idea that has been written before, but not in quite this way. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, but not so much of one that I wanted to throw my book against the wall. It leaves an amazing setup for the next novel.

Perfect Ruin is a fantastic beginning to another DeStefano series. The world she has created is amazing and I’m already invested in what happens to her characters. I’m anxiously awaiting the release of Burning Kingdoms.

If Perfect Ruin sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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Review: Deception by C.J. Redwine

Title: Deception
Author: C.J. Redwine
Series: Courier’s Daughter
Rating:
★★★★★

I’ve been not so patiently waiting for Deception from the moment I finished Defiance. I loved the action and romance of the first novel, and couldn’t wait to see what Redwine had in store for her characters next.

The city of Baalboden has been destroyed and the Commander has run off. All that remains is a small group of survivors who selected Logan to be their leader. Logan and Rachel have both lost nearly everyone they love and care about, with their love for each other needing to be strong enough for each other. Logan decides to take the group of survivors across the Wasteland in search of asylum in the northern territories. With the Commander’s army at their backs, a traitor in their camp, and the unknown in front of them, their travels are dangerous.

Logan and Rachel have moved past the unknowns of their relationship. Redwine doesn’t have to build up their relationship. They love each other and have that foundation to build upon. They have to figure out how to fight for each other while still fighting against the outside forces bent on their destruction. They both have lost their family and a large majority of their friends, and need the other in order to keep their strength going.

For Logan, Rachel is the only person her has left that he considers family. His worries that her self-sacrificing ways will get her killed make him take extra steps to ensure her safety. Rachel has lost all family except Logan and is just as worried about losing him. She’s not sure if she can survive losing another person she loves. The death that has already surrounded her haunts her and she doesn’t know how to get past it, or if she’s even strong enough to. It causes her to become even more self-sacrificing and take bigger risks, even when she knows she shouldn’t.

I loved the storyline of this novel. The trek across the Wasteland, with possible dangers at every turn, and the traitor within the group made for an amazing read. I was never really sure what was going to happen next. I was kept guessing at who the traitor was and I must say, I was pretty shocked. The character deaths made me cry, one especially, and as much as I hated seeing those characters go, I understand why they happened. Everything had a purpose, whether it was to move the story along or to have a character change and grow.

Deception was just as amazing as I hoped, and knew, it would be. It made me weak in the knees. It made my heart race. It was everything I wanted. The ending left me breathless and I really wish I didn’t have to wait to read the next novel. Redwine has an amazing series going and I can’t wait to see how she ends it.

If Deception sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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