Gemina

“Patience and Silence had one beautiful daughter. And her name was Vengeance.” 

Title: Gemina

Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Series: The Illuminae Files # 2

Publication: October 18th 2016 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Pages: 608

Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminaecontinues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.


Whirlwind of Thoughts:

Holy crapola. I was in love with Illuminae from day one. It took my breath away, brought a whole new meaning to the word anxiety, and gave me some seriously bookish nightmares. Now, it’s sequel Gemina has done just the same – times three.

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Sleeper

Title:  Sleeper

Author: Mackenzie Cadenhead

Series: Standalone?

Publication: August 1st 2017 by Sourcebooks Fire

Pages: 272

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

As if surviving high school wasn’t hard enough, Sarah Reyes suffers from REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, a parasomnia that causes her to physically act out her dreams. When she almost snaps her friend’s neck at a sleepover, Sarah and her nocturnal habits are thrust into the spotlight and she becomes a social pariah, complete with public humiliation.

When an experimental drug comes onto the market that promises nighttime normalcy, Sarah agrees to participate in the trial. At first, she seems to be cured. Then the side effects kick in. Why does a guy from her nightmare show up at school? Are the eerily similar dreams she’s sharing with her classmates’ coincidence or of her making? Is she losing her mind or does this drug offer way more than sleep?


Trigger Warning: Problematic Representation of Sexual Assault

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The Sandcastle Empire

The fire pops, hisses. War is like this: consuming, ravenous, feeding and feeding until there’s nothing left to take and all that’s left is ash.

Title: The Sandcastle Empire

Author: Kayla Olson

Series: Standalone (for now)

Publication:  June 6th 2017 by HarperTeen

Pages: 464

Source: OwlCrate

Summary from Goodreads:

Before the war, Eden’s life was easy—air conditioning, ice cream, long days at the beach. Then the revolution happened, and everything changed.

Now a powerful group called the Wolfpack controls the earth and its resources. Eden has lost everything to them. They killed her family and her friends, destroyed her home, and imprisoned her. But Eden refuses to die by their hands. She knows the coordinates to the only neutral ground left in the world, a place called Sanctuary Island, and she is desperate to escape to its shores.

Eden finally reaches the island and meets others resistant to the Wolves—but the solace is short-lived when one of Eden’s new friends goes missing. Braving the jungle in search of their lost ally, they quickly discover Sanctuary is filled with lethal traps and an enemy they never expected.

This island might be deadlier than the world Eden left behind, but surviving it is the only thing that stands between her and freedom.


My Thoughts:

I had no idea what to expect from this book when I pulled it out of the June OwlCrate box a week ago. I distantly remembered hearing some people talk about The Sandcastle Empire and adding it to my Goodreads TBR, but that was it. I didn’t know what it was about, who the characters were, or even what genre it was. However, I was excited to start it, and so I did. It’s not often that I read a book where I go in completely blind. Usually, I’ve at least heard something about it before – but, for The Sandcastle Empire, that blindness gave way to an amazing, unpredictable reading experience.

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The Love Interest

“Do you think you will fall in love with her?”

“It doesn’t matter,” I say. “She’s the hero of this story, so how I feel is irrelevant.”

Title: The Love Interest

Author: Cale Dietrich

Series: Standalone

Publication: May 16th 2017 by Feiwel & Friends

Pages: 384

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.


Basically:

That pretty much sums up everything you need to know about this book. I am in love with The Love Interest.  I love it, love it, love it. IT IS EVERYTHING I WAS HOPING FOR AND MORE! You want a feel good, squeal-worthy romance that’s also making fun of every trope in YA lit? READ THIS. It is amazing, and wonderful, and hilarious, and swoon-worthy, and the friendship… just ugh. I have so many feelings right now.


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Defy the Stars

“Maybe it’s only a … simulation of love, a close analogue. But I have come to feel it with all the strength I have to feel anything. Over the past weeks, I’ve come to listen for your voice, because I hope to hear it. I pay attention to irrelevant details of your mannerisms and appearance because I find them pleasing. I’ve begun to understand how you think and what you want. That means I can see through your eyes, too, instead of only my own, and it’s as if the entire universe expanded, grew larger and more beautiful.”  

Title: Defy the Stars

Author: Claudia Gray

Series: Defy the Stars # 1

Publication:  April 4th 2017 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pages: 512

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis, once a colony of Earth that’s now at war for its independence. The humans of Genesis have fought Earth’s robotic “mech” armies for decades with no end in sight.

After a surprise attack, Noemi finds herself stranded in space on an abandoned ship where she meets Abel, the most sophisticated mech prototype ever made. One who should be her enemy. But Abel’s programming forces him to obey Noemi as his commander, which means he has to help her save Genesis–even though her plan to win the war will kill him.

Together they embark on a daring voyage through the galaxy. Before long, Noemi begins to realize Abel may be more than a machine, and, for his part, Abel’s devotion to Noemi is no longer just a matter of programming.

A Gifset Of Reactions Because I Love It Too Much To Do Anything Else:

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Arena

Death is not something to be cheated. It’s simply the end of a journey. The best thing we can do is move on, live the best life we can, and always remember them and everything they taught us.

Title: Arena

Author: Holly Jennings

Series: Arena # 1

Publication: November 1st 2016 by Ace Books

Pages: 400

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

The RAGE tournaments the Virtual Gaming League s elite competition where the best gamers in the world compete in a fight to the digital death. Every kill is broadcast to millions. Every player leads a life of ultimate fame, responsible only for entertaining the masses.
And though their weapons and armor are digital, the pain is real.
Chosen to be the first female captain in RAGE tournament history, Kali Ling is at the top of the world until one of her teammates overdoses. Now she s stuck trying to work with a hostile new teammate who s far more distracting than he should be.
Between internal tensions and external pressures, Kali is on the brink of breaking. To change her life, she ll need to change the game. And the only way to revolutionize an industry as shadowy as the VGL is to fight from the inside.


My Thoughts:

I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. In all honesty, despite my excitement, I sort of put off reading it because I was afraid it would be a mash up of Divergent simulations and The Hunger Games. However, Arena completely proved me wrong.

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy Arena as much as I actually did. It was exciting, fun, entertaining, and unique in ways I thought would be lacking. There were interesting characters, wonderful relationships, and a whole lot of action. Arena was a treat to read in so many ways, perfect for the upswing after just finishing finals.

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Everland

“To die will be an awfully big adventure”

Title: Everland

Author: Wendy Spinale

Series: Everland # 1

Publication: May 10th 2016 by Scholastic Press

Pages: 312

Source: OwlCrate

Summary from Goodreads:

London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived are children, among them Gwen Darling and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the ruthless Marauders — the German army led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.

Unsure if the virus has spread past England’s borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return. Until the day they grab Joanna. As Gwen sets out to save her, she meets a daredevil boy named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it will cost Gwen. And are she, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart Captain Hook?


My Thoughts:

I find myself growing increasingly disappointed as I sit here to write this review. Everland had the serious potential to be mind-blowing, amazing, and delicious. It mixed one of my all time favorite legends/fairy tales with a dystopian, virus riddled reality and steampunk architecture. It had everything it needed to succeed, except the most important thing of all: the writing.

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