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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Learning to Swear in America

Title: Learning to Swear in America

Author: Kaite Kennedy

Series: Standalone

Publication: July 5th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 352

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been called to NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster. He knows how to stop the asteroid: his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize–if there’s ever another Nobel prize awarded. But Yuri’s 17, and having a hard time making older, stodgy physicists listen to him. Then he meets Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he’s not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and save a life worth living.

Prepare to laugh, cry, cringe, and have your mind burst open with questions of the universe.


My Thoughts:

Today, I’m going to do something a little different again. Instead of going paragraph by paragraph, I’m going to make a list of likes and dislikes (because I can, that’s why).

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Alight

“If it’s war they want, they messed with the wrong girl.”

Title: Alight

Author: Scott Sigler

Series: The Generations Trilogy # 2

Publication: April 5th 2016 by Del Rey

Pages: 448

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Alight reveals to readers the further adventures of Em, Spingate, O’Malley, Bishop, and the other young heroes introduced in Alive. In Alive, Em fought to assert herself as leader and her friends tried to comprehend their own mysterious identity; now she must wrestle not with the challenge of winning power but the grave responsibility of having assumed it, and she and her friends must contend with a grim fact: the revelation of their identity is not an answer but another question—and one with terrifying implications.

My Thoughts:

Scott Sigler, you have done it again you slimy bastard. This book… ugh.. how am I even supposed to talk about this book? Much like Alive, Alight has left me in a very peculiar predicament. I CAN’T TELL YOU WHAT I LIKE AND DISLIKE ABOUT THIS BOOK WITHOUT SPOILING EVERYTHING! Alight is a wondrous tomb you must explore for yourself to get the full effect of the mummy jumping out of the corner, you get me? I can’t tell you about the characters, I can’t tell you about the plot, I can’t do didily squat. So, instead, I’m going to do one of the things I do best and leave a string of gifs in my wake. Enjoy, you precious people you. Interpret this as you will.

Do with those gifs what you will, the meaning is up to you (though it will make sense when you read the book). Alight is an amazing adventure with twists and turns so catty-wompus you won’t know what hit you until it’s too late. You will be left with unanswered questions, surpassed expectations, and a mind full of so much ‘wowza’ you won’t know what to do with yourself until October. If you haven’t started this series yet, shame on you. Get on this bandwagon, it’s a darn good one.

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Raging Sea

“Your city has been demolished. Your friends are dead and gone. Enemies roam your lands. Soldiers have taken your people. Torn them from the arms of their mothers, all to cut them open and see how they work! Does none of this burn your passions? Where is your fury?”

Title: Raging Sea

Author: Michael Buckley

Series: Undertow # 2

Publication: February 2nd 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Pages: 384

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

In the first book of Michael Buckley’s Undertow trilogy, the Alpha arrived and the world was never the same. At the start of the second book, most of south Brooklyn is in ruins and the nation is terrified. Nearly everyone that Lyric Walker loves is either missing or presumed dead, including the mesmerizing prince Fathom. It’s up to Lyric to unite the Alpha before the second wave of a cataclysmic invasion wipes out mankind for good.

My Thoughts:

Much like my feelings after reading the first book in the Undertow trilogy: wow. Once again, Michael Buckley has blown me straight out of the water – pun intended. This book was exactly what I need right now. It pulled me in, it made me forget everything besides what was going on right on the page and therefore in my head. It makes you feel such a broad spectrum of emotions – it will make you laugh (one of my favorite parts was Lyric’s four steps of shoplifting, it was hilarious), it will make you ugly cry until you resemble an over-boiled blow fish, and it will make your heart both sing the praises of love and want to beat it to death with some sort of blunt weapon – a sledge hammer is preferable. Raging Sea is exactly what the title promises – a raging sea of emotions, action, and an overwhelming spectacle I will never forget. 

This book picks up a little after Undertow ends, a few weeks I think – to be exact. Lyric is on the run with Bex and Arcade, and none of them know if their loved ones are alive or dead – all they know is that somewhere, the organization Tempest is holding Alpha hybrid children, their parents, and a bunch of other Alphas prisoner. So, who you gonna call? LYRIC WALKER! Goodness, I love that girl. She might be stubborn, slightly pushover-y, but she is an overall badass who understands just what is at stake throughout the entire book. She, Bex, and Arcade are planning to storm Tempest when they find it and free their people, while simultaneously being on the run because Lyric has been wrongfully labeled a terrorist after the events on Cony Island. Needless to say, hilarity, chaos, and all manner of shenanigans ensue.

Raging Sea delivered on all fronts. We have some serious character development both in Lyric and almost all of the side characters (that moment at the end with Arcade, Lyric, and Bex hit me right in the feels) We’ve got a plot racing at the speed of light – but perfectly so. It’s not too slow, not too fast. A perfect balance between having time to take in certain details all while being caught up in the chaos of a war you know you are loosing.

Additionally, and I repeat myself here: LYRIC WALKER. That girl is a godsend to YA literature (especially the dystopian/apocalypse kind). She is witty, steadfast, and hell bent on saving her parents as well as every other person trapped in Tempest. She does not break, but she is willing to bend – and that is what makes her so remarkable. She can pick her battles, she knows when to act like she’s playing along and when to unleash hell. She is powerful – she abuses her power and feels like shit afterwards. She might be part Alpha, but she is human at the core – where it counts. She is real, she is a hero. Lyric is someone I would be willing to follow into battle and a prime example of why is at the end of the book. She is willing to do what needs to be done and yet she refuses to let harm come to anyone when she knows that she alone can end it.

Now, one order of business I have to mention. Fathom. Fathom, Fathom, Fathom – my precious, prickly cinnamon roll from book one was the only issue I had with this book. Though, issue is too strong of a word. I love Fathom, I love him with Lyric and I love his character and how he thinks. What I had a “problem” with, was the stupid ass fight Lyric had with him, herself, and Arcade. It was unnecessary, things were resolved earlier and then they were ripped apart for no good reason other than what seems to be to create drama. While I still loved it, and I would never let something that petty bother me usually, I just expected a bit more out of them after reading Undertow. The two of them, in Lyric’s words, burn and are dangerous like gasoline and fire – and boy is it true. I will go down with this ship, Lord help me.

Overall, Raging Sea has infinitely deepened my love for this series. I am head over heels and ready to dive head first into the chaos these books bring. After that cliffhanger at the end (curse you, Buckley), I find myself anxiously awaiting yet another masterpiece to hit the shelves. Raging Sea is a phenomenal continuation of an amazing series and I cannot fathom (see what I did there?) how I am going to get myself through another year of waiting. Michael Buckley, you have done it once again. You ripped out my heart, fed it to a giant octopus, and laughed maniacally while doing so. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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