Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: Reboot by Amy Tintera

From Goodreads: 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.

My Rating: 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Reboot by Amy Tintera was a fast-paced read with solid worldbuilding and a unique take on zombies. Unlike most zombie novels, I enjoyed Reboot since Tintera kept the violence but not the gore. The focus on romance, however, decreased my enjoyment of the novel somewhat.

Although the backstory of how the world in Reboot came about is kind of vague, Tintera’s world is believable as it presently is. With a virus decimating the population, it’s not hard to imagine a corporation arising to take advantage and the rich segregating themselves from the poor to avoid the spread of the virus.

One effect of this new virus that it can cause those who have/had it to reanimate after death with better physical abilities and a lack of emotion. The longer the time between death and revival, the corresponding increase in physical abilities and decrease in emotionality afterwards. This makes Reboots great soldiers, and so they’re taken by HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation) to find criminals or those who are sick without the risk of infection.

Among Reboots, Wren is famous for rebooting after one hundred seventy-eight minutes. Feeling little emotion and having no qualms about killing people, she’s one of – if not the – best of HARC’s soldiers. Callum, on the other hand, reboots after twenty-two minutes and therefore almost resembles a human physically and emotionally. As a couple, I liked how the two of them balanced each other because Callum drew Wren out of her shell and made her question the state of things whereas Wren helped him become a stronger Reboot. But, I also thought the romance was very insta-love because as soon as this cute guy shows up, you start to see Wren becoming more emotional.

Reboot was released by HarperTeen on May 7, 2013.  

Comments About the Cover: I think it’s a simple and effective cover. I like how the top half is a bar code that emphasizes the numbers 1, 7 and 8. The number 178 is important of course, but bar codes also have a vital role in Reboot as they help to deindividuate a person.  

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (HarperCollins) for free via Edelweiss. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Review: The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston

From Goodreads: She’s been six different people in six different places: Madeline in Ohio, Isabelle in Missouri, Olivia in Kentucky ... But now that she’s been transplanted to rural Louisiana, she has decided that this fake identity will be her last. Witness Protection has taken nearly everything from her. But for now, they’ve given her a new name, Megan Rose Jones, and a horrible hair color. For the past eight months, Meg has begged her father to answer one question: What on earth did he do – or see – that landed them in this god-awful mess? Meg has just about had it with all the Suits’ rules - and her dad’s silence. If he won’t help, it’s time she got some answers for herself. But Meg isn’t counting on Ethan Landry, an adorable Louisiana farm boy who’s too smart for his own good. He knows Meg is hiding something big. And it just might get both of them killed. As they embark on a perilous journey to free her family once and for all, Meg discovers that there’s only one rule that really matters - survival. 

My Rating: 3 hearts

Thoughts on the Novel: The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston is a breezy read if you’re not thinking too hard about how farfetched the plot is. Unfortunately, I found that the book started to lose steam one Meg discovered why she was in the Witness Protection Program.

Meg herself was someone I had a few problems with. Although I liked how much she cared about her younger sibling, I thought she complained a bit too much about her situation and didn’t treat her parents very nicely. I also thought Meg wasn’t exactly the brightest character; and when coupled with the plot’s predictability, I was left disappointed by the mystery in The Rules for Disappearing.  

The romance was another thing I had an issue with. Sure, Ethan was sweet, but I found it unbelievable that he would risk his safety for someone he had only known for a few days!

Even though I ended up thinking The Rules for Disappearing was an okay read, the ending suggested that there will be a sequel. If there is, I’ll probably pass. 

The Rules for Disappearing will be released by Disney Hyperion tomorrow! 

Comments About the Cover: I don’t really like it. It’s kind of boring looking and has me wondering why the girl isn’t wearing any shoes.

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Disney Book Group) for free via NetGalley. 

ETA: A look at Goodreads has confirmed that there will be a sequel to The Rules for Disappearing.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Review: Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan

From Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Meg Fellowes is a wry, resourceful thief forced to join an elite group of female spies in Queen Elizabeth’s Court. There she must solve a murder, save the Crown, and resist the one thing that will become her greatest freedom - and her deadliest peril. For Meg and her fellow spies are not alone in their pursuit of the murderer who stalks Windsor Castle. A young, mysterious Spanish courtier, Count Rafe de Martine, appears at every turn in the dark and scandal-filled corridors of the Queen’s summer palace. And though secrets and danger are Meg’s stock-in-trade, she’s never bargained on falling in love ...

My Rating: Wavering between 3 and 3.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: You know those books that although you liked, still disappointed you because you were expecting more from them? Well, that was my experience with Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan.

When we first meet Meg, she’s a thief who’s looking forward to leading the street thieves of her acting troupe and hoping to eventually have enough money to live the life that she wants. One mistake, however, results in Meg ending up as a spy for Queen Elizabeth I or risk having the other members of the Golden Rose troupe branded as thieves as well. For a book involving thieves and spies, Maid of Secrets wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be.

I also didn’t feel like I got to know the characters completely. It just felt like something was missing to make them memorable, and this stopped me from really caring about them or becoming fully invested in the romance (which I thought could have used a bit more spark). Two secondary characters that I did find interesting though were Rafe and James. We know right from the start that there’s more to Rafe than meets the eye, but I think the same may be true for James too. And, although I thought there would be a love triangle, that wasn’t the case at least in this book.

As a historical fantasy, I think Maid of Secrets could have been better written to make the historical aspects not so dry. With some historical fantasies, you just absorb knowledge about the time period without even realizing it. I don’t feel like that can be said about Maid of Secrets because McGowan would give details about people or situations rather than showing the reader things through her story. 

Maid of Secrets will be released by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers tomorrow! 

Comments About the Cover: I’m a big fan of weapons being featured on a cover – especially if it’s the cover of a fantasy novel – because it makes me excited about the possibility of plenty of action and violence. I also like how the model has a secretive smile on her face. It’s as if she knows something that we’re not privy to, and that makes me want to know what her secret is. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Simon and Schuster) for free via Edelweiss.
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