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Amped by Daniel H Wilson

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Amped

amped

Some people are implanted with upgrades that make them capable of superhuman feats. The powerful technology has profound consequences for society, and soon a set of laws is passed that restricts the abilities—and rights—of “amplified” humans. On the day that the Supreme Court passes the first of these laws, 29-year-old Owen Gray discovers that his seizure-suppressing medical implant is actually a powerful upgrade. Owen joins the ranks of a new persecuted underclass known as “amps” and is forced to go on the run, desperate to reach an outpost in Oklahoma where, it is rumoured, a group of the most enhanced amps are about to change the world—or destroy it. (From Goodreads)

This book grabbed me from the first page and I’m thinking Daniel H Wilson is quickly becoming my favorite new author. I loved reading this from cover to cover.

It’s certainly an interesting concept, where we can become ‘amplified’ to enhance ourselves but then you’d have to ask yourselves where the line is crossed and when it’s too much? when does it become out of hand to the point where those with ‘amps’ are then ostracized and become second class citizens. These are all the things to look at while reading this book.

What makes it so good is the action that begins right in the beginning of the book, and all throughout the book which engages the reader and makes the book a non stop read. It’s pretty much fast paced, although through the middle of the book it does slow down but only to give Owen a bit more character development.

As for Owen as a character, I had to admit I’m still not that crazy about him. He’s a bit of a twit. Sure, he looks at the world sometimes through a rose colored lens but you’d have to wonder when reality is going to hit him and when he’s going to react. It’s not until he’s actually FORCED with his back to the wall type of scenario to finally act. He does seem to be a bit blind to what’s going on around him and his fellow Amps.

The villains in this book are very well done. They’re awesome bad guys (Lyle moreso. Vaughn’s just a jerk). They’re so bad you’re not sure if you want to hate them (like Vaughn) or like them because they do such a good job at being bad (like Lyle). Overall the characters in the book are pretty well written. The only one character I wasn’t too keen on was Lucy, because I thought she was just there to play a romantic love interest and that was it. She didn’t really contribute much for this book in my opinion.

The writing style is good. Nothing fancy or so wordy when it comes to the ‘high tech’ part that you’ll be left looking through wikipedia on some of the terminology and all you get are metaphysical answers. Thankfully this book has none of that so even if you’re not much of a sci fi fan, you should give this book a try. The action packed writing should be enough to get you going!

I’m definitely going to put Daniel H Wilson on my authors to watch for list. I really liked his style of writing so I’ll be looking for more works by him. Definitely recommended for those that want an action packed read. Sci fi readers might enjoy this also (even those who don’t care much for high tech speak!)

I give it a 9 out of 10

Written by Karoline

September 17, 2014 at 9:27 am

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

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The Dead and the Gone

The Dead and the Gone

Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event–an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex’s parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle. With haunting themes of family, faith, personal change, and courage, this powerful new novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities. (From Goodreads)

Life as We Knew It was pretty good. I enjoyed reading it. The Dead and the Gone isn’t really a continuation of the first one, it’s set in a different setting this time in New York City. Instead of a female protagonist, we have a male one who’s like the previous main character, has a family to take care of.

What I liked about this book is the development of the setting. I liked how throughout the book areas around Alex and his sisters start dying out, and the city starts getting abandoned slowly. I enjoyed how this was illustrated throughout the story. Character development was well done in this book. I thought Julie did a lot of growing up especially during the last third of the book. Alex, well he did take charge of being the ‘man of the house’ but he wasn’t a great as a main character as I hoped he would be. Bri on the other hand, just ended up being the annoying character nobody wants to read about.

The plot itself isn’t as good as the first one, but it’s still worth a read through at least once at least to see good character development and how it was like in a different setting. I’ll be continuing along this series as it does have a lot of potential. I hope it doesn’t fall short.

I give it a 7 out of 10

Written by Karoline

September 10, 2014 at 8:55 am

Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry

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Dust and Decay

Dust and Decay

Six months have passed since the terrifying battle with Charlie Pink-eye and the Motor City Hammer in the zombie-infested mountains of the Rot & Ruin. It’s also been six months since Benny Imura and Nix Riley saw something in the air that changed their lives. Now, after months of rigorous training with Benny’s zombie-hunter brother Tom, Benny and Nix are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future. Lilah the Lost Girl and Benny’s best friend Lou Chong are going with them. But before they even leave there is a shocking zombie attack in town, and as soon as they step into the Rot & Ruin they are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, and insane murderers, and face the horrors of Gameland—where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in the zombie pits. Worst of all…could the evil Charlie Pink-eye still be alive? In the great Rot & Ruin, everything wants to kill you—and not everyone in Benny’s small band of travelers will survive…. (From Amazon.ca)

**Caution: Spoilers! Read at your risk!**

Loved Rot and Ruin. This book was also ten times better than Rot and Ruin. Everything just got better when I read this book.

The characters got better (except Nix, for some reason I just can’t get myself to like her). There were moments of close calls for these characters and some nail biting moments. I absolutely loved the introduction of the different hunters (the Surfers were awesome! and Sally Two Knives!). The humor is back again in this book, I loved the banter between Benny and Chong. I also loved the banter between Lilah and Chong. I’m so happy they eventually became a couple. It’s an odd couple nevertheless, but given the circumstances of what’s happening around them, it goes hand in hand.

The writing style and character development is excellent. There’s a handful of characters to keep track of but the main core would be Benny and his friends. Benny’s group including himself develop, and you see them grow up mentally. After what Nix experiences, she’s matured but through no choice of her own. However whenever you do read the banter between the friends, they act just like kids do and in a sense, it’s comforting because they can still act like their age despite what’s going on around them.

The plot itself was excellent, and keep in mind it follows right after the events of Rot and Ruin, so it’s best if you read in order. The final third of the book is filled with action and an epic fighting scene. Unfortunately some characters do have to leave. I didn’t want this particular one to go and was absolutely blindsided with this turn of events. I was so attached to this particular character, I have to admit, I cried. This shows though, that Maberry’s writing and characters are very well done, because we get attached to them emotionally and we cheer them on.
Definitely a good follow up to Rot and Ruin, and it looks like it’s a great series so far. An absolute must read for zombie YA readers.

I give it a 9.5/10

Written by Karoline

September 3, 2014 at 9:10 am

22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson

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22 Britannia Road

22 Britannia Road

Silvana and Janusz have only been married a few months when the war forces them apart. Silvana and their infant son, Aurek, leave Poland and disappear into the forests of Eastern Europe, where they bear witness to German atrocities. Meanwhile Janusz, the sole survivor of his slaughtered military unit, flees to France. There, he takes up with a local girl and, though he loves her, awaits the war’s end so that he can go in search of his wife and son. He eventually finds them in a refugee camp and they travel to England together, where they attempt to put the past behind them. But the secrets they carry pull at the threads of their fragile peace. Hodgkinson alternates viewpoints to relay the story of three desperate characters, skillfully toggling between the war and its aftermath with wonderfully descriptive prose that pulls the reader into a sweeping tale of survival and redemption. (from Goodreads)

I enjoyed reading this one. I rather liked the story, even though it’s dark and moody. The setting and the theme was well done and although Silvana and Janusz are supposed to be together, you can feel the detachment between the two of them because of the war. It changes everything and when they do get together, the love just isn’t there. You’d have to wonder if it was lust at first sight instead of love.

You don’t quite connect with the characters here. Again, it feels like detachment is the main theme of this story. The characters themselves don’t quite connect with each other either. So I can see why this book might not be for everyone. Nevertheless, despite this, I liked how it was written and the mood overall was very well done.

There is a little twist in the plot. It’s not mind numbing or shocking, but it sort of livens up the story a bit and it was an unexpected twist for me. I’d have to say Silvana’s story while she was trying to survive was a good one. She endured a lot and while reading her side of the story it’s filled with how people would just take advantage of one another during these times (or in any time during a war). It’s just a matter of survival and how humanity would take drastic steps to do so even if it means stepping over particular boundaries that one wouldn’t normally do in other circumstances.

Historical fiction readers may like this book for its’ beautiful writing. I thought it was worth the read. It may not be for everyone, but it’s worth a read through.

I give it a 9/10

Thanks Penguin for the review copy!!!! Much appreciated!

Written by Karoline

August 6, 2014 at 9:04 am

Until I Die by Amy Plum

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Until I Die

Until I Die

Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love. As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy. (From Goodreads)

I absolutely loved the first one. I loved Vincent so much and he instantly became a book crush. Both he and Kate made a great couple, and although they had the chemistry going on, their relationship sort of went in the way of the overall plot.

The plot had great potential and it was just as exciting as the first book. I loved the idea of the Revenants, and Kate managed to develop into a stronger character (remember the middle finger incident? haha!). My favorite characters still are Jules and Vincent. Their personalities are likable and I’m glad they haven’t changed a bit.

Although the book was a good one, there were quite a full lulls throughout the story, and as mentioned before, Kate and Vincent’s romance marred it. Don’t get me wrong, I love them both together, they had wonderful chemistry and a great romance, but I don’t want to read their sappy one liners, and how much they love being in each other’s company. I want the plot to keep going, I want to see the action, I want to see what next suspenseful thing is coming next. But I’m stuck reading on love and kissing scenes. Not quite what I had in mind. On top of that, the action really happens in the last 50 pages. So it felt as if time was wasted.

So, it’s worth a read because it’s the second in the series, but I’m hoping the third will be better. A little less on the sappy romance, more action on more Revenants please!

I give it a 7 out of 10.

Written by Karoline

July 23, 2014 at 8:47 am

Embers of Love by Tracie Peterson

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Embers of Love

Embers of Love

The logging industry in eastern Texas is booming, and Deborah Vandermark plans to assist her family’s business now that she’s completed college. Unexpectedly, her best friend, Lizzie Decker, accompanies her back home–fleeing a wedding and groom she has no interest in. Deborah, the determined matchmaker, puts her sights on uniting her brother and dear friend in a true love match. Deborah soon meets Dr. Christopher Clayton, a much-needed addition to the town. As their lives intersect, Deborah realizes that she has a much greater interest in medicine and science than the bookkeeping she was trained in. But when typhoid begins to spread and Lizzie’s jilted fiance returns, Deborah wonders if true love can overcome such obstacles…for those dearest to her, and for herself. (From Amazon.ca)

I enjoyed this book somewhat. Deborah was enjoyable to read as a character, she’s very strong willed and knew exactly what she wanted from life. Especially during this particular time period where she had an interest in medicine and science, it would have been hard for a woman during that time to pursue these types of interests. Her strong and likable personality was what made the book a nice read.

So! why did I say I enjoyed this book ‘somewhat’? a few things. The pace of the plot was a bit too slow for my tastes. The characters are great and all, but if the plot is going nowhere, or it’s going at a snail’s pace well, there’s only so much the characters can do to capture and maintain your attention.

Then come the ‘convenient’ bits. Not going to go into much detail here to avoid spoilers, but let’s just say some people just pop up magically, while others just disappear and you’re wondering where the heck they went to. It seems like a cop out, and it’s like these characters can’t have anything wrong happen with them, and if it does, it’ll be swept under the rug conveniently. This gets tiresome and it makes the story dull and predictable possibly warding off potential readers.

I haven’t read the second or third yet, but I don’t think I’ll rush to go ahead and do so. If I find the second one, I’ll take it, otherwise I’ll take my time. Take it or leave it on this one.

I give it a 6/10

Written by Karoline

July 15, 2014 at 9:37 am

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out. When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself? (from Goodreads)

Oh my. It’s been a while since I’ve read an excellent book. Then you pick up a giant tome like this one and it just sweeps you off your feet. I fell in love with this book in the first few 50 pages. It had an interesting fresh look on fantasy for YA without your standard monsters (ie: dragons – not that there’s anything wrong with dragons, but we’ve all seen and read about them dozens of times).

The idea of the chimeras and the seraphim with a Romeo and Juliet twist is what I found the most appealing in this book. Now it may not be entirely different when it comes to the starcrossed lovers theme, but putting that theme with something different and fantastical is always a good thing and refreshing to see. Also, I loved the setting. Not many that take place in Europe, so that also makes the book all the more worth reading.

The characters are all memorable. Loved all the chimeras they each had their own personality and you couldn’t help but love them all. Zuzana made the perfect sidekick with Karou, I loved her and how much she supported Karou through it all. Thiago is horribly slimy and makes your skin crawl. The plot goes back and forth between what’s happening now, and in a different fantastical world, but it’s weaved together and it’s so well done you don’t notice any hitches. It’s a beautiful plot, and although the size might intimidate some, don’t be. You’ll be surprised at how fast you fly with this book because the plot is so engaging and will draw you in.

Definitely recommended. It’s something different, and the cliffhanger ending will make you scream.

I give it a 10 out of 10

Written by Karoline

May 28, 2014 at 7:13 am

Posted in 10, Review

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