Monday, February 18, 2013

Shades of Earth: review

Title: Shades of Earth (Across the Universe #3)
Author: Beth Revis
Rating: 5 stars
Source: bought
Summary: Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceshipGodspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.

Another great series ending...I know, I've been finishing a lot of these lately.

I had read a lot of mixed reviews on Shades of Earth, so when I bought it on release day, I didn't know what to expect, because reviews on the first two books are pretty positive. The first book I liked okay. The second book I really liked, and now this one, for the most part, was pretty frexing brilly. (Also, if you take a look at Goodreads for the series ratings, I'm not alone in my opinion.)

Sci-fi is my favorite genre, and there just aren't a lot of great new YA sci-fi books without the dystopia angle, nowadays. I think that's why I stuck with this trilogy, because even though it takes place in the future and Sol-Earth is mentioned, technology is advanced, but there was no catastrophic event to reset civilization on Sol-Earth and make it a dystopia. Anyway, we don't even see Sol-Earth, just make a few communications to them. I like that distance, because it allows a lot of freedom for developing two new worlds; Godspeed, and Centauri-Earth.

While Godspeed world-developing took up the first two books, and we have about two pages of it in here. Centauri-Earth is the main setting for Shades of Earth, and its described beautifully. I shared Amy's wonder in the similarities to Sol-Earth, and yet all the little (and big) differences on the new planet. There are two suns, interesting plant-life, and...not so kind creatures. This is the main mystery for the plot and though I thought I guessed a few things, I tried to keep my suspicions to a minimum so I could enjoy the story. And a lot of it I did not see coming at all, or I thought I did and then it took a completely different direction. That's always fun!

I do wish the shipborn people had more development, after coming down in the shuttle. They're mentioned as a group a lot, but then up to leading to the climax, after that, there isn't more than a few words about them! I'm really curious to see how many of them, er, survived. And how they're starting a new civilization, etc. The focus became directed to the military side toward the end, and I see how it's needed, but it feels like those shipborns were forgotten about.

This is what you don't want to hear: Lots of people keep dying. And when you think everything is finally okay? Another person dies. It's not pretty, any of the deaths, and I will admit that I might have gotten a little misty-eyed on a few of them, and also queasy. Just trust me, you will be mad at the book at some points. I was very surprised, because I didn't expect it to be so filled with so much death and despair. These people really have horrible luck, and can't catch a break.

The pace is fast, the first page starting off mere seconds after A Million Suns ends, and the action doesn't stop until the last chapter or so. Actually the last few chapters felt rushed a little, but I didn't mind that much. Everything felt complete and tied up, with no straggling ends and a whole new world to explore.

I'd recommend the series to anyone who likes the book Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card (my review here), or the movie Wall-E, or the TV series Terra Nova (which got cancelled after one series, grrr.)

Now I get to put this new hardback on the shelf with my two other hardbacks that don't match on my it just me, or have these mid-series cover changes been more and more frequent??

Anyone have recommendations for more non-dystopia YA sci-fi??


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop (US)

This hop is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Rachael Anderson. Complete linky list is here.

I'm giving away a romance, but it's rather tragic, being zombie and all. You just know it's not going to end up well...or will it? The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a great and terrifying book to start the trilogy. My review of it is here, and to enter to win a paperback copy of it, just enter the Rafflecopter below like usual! :)

Goodreads summary: In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 4, 2013

Follower Love Giveaway Hop! (US)

This hop is co-hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & The Reader's Antidote
Complete linky list is here.

Because we love our followers!!!

Okay so I'm giving away a signed hard back copy of The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. It doesn't have a slip jacket, but the whole thing is very pretty, you can see in the picture below. It's in pretty good condition with a little shelf wear.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Infatuate: review

Warning, there may be slight spoilers for the first book below!
Title: Infatuate (Gilded Wings #2)
Author: Aimee Agresti
Rating: 4.4 stars
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Source: review copy from the author for honest review
Summary: Haven Terra is still recovering from an internship that brought her literally to the brink of hell when a trip to New Orleans leads to more trouble. Graduating early from high school leaves the spring semester free, so Haven and her friends Dante and Lance head to the Big Easy to volunteer with community service projects. But their true mission becomes clear when they run across an enclave of devils known as the Krewe. New Orleans is a free-for-all for these shape-shifting devils, who are more reckless and vicious than any Haven, Lance, and Dante have encountered. And they soon discover their French Quarter housemates are also angels-in-training, and together they must face off with the Krewe in their quest for wings. But Haven’s resolve is tested when Lucian, the repentant devil with whom she was infatuated, resurfaces and asks her for help escaping the underworld. Can he be trusted? Or will aiding him cost Haven her angel wings—and her life? Thrilling, romantic, and full of surprises, this gripping sequel to Illuminate takes the battle of good and evil to the next level.

   At first I was annoyed Illuminate wasn't a standalone, because it'd make a great one. They say it's a mix of The Picture of Dorian Gray and Devil Wears Prada, which do I find to be the most accurate description. So I wasn't sure what to expect for two more books. Either way, I think Illuminate can be read as a standalone if you don't mind a slightly open ending, but you might very well find yourself wanting more...

   Infatuate took me a while to get into. The beginning is slow; there seemed to be a lot of unnecessary details and weird unexplained actions. I'd started to worry it would fall into the Second Book Slump category...but then around page 100 (a fourth through) a pretty great twist emerged from the doldrums, and my worries dissipated. And so did a lot of my confusion.

   For the most part, the romance in here didn't appear that great. Lance is off suddenly falling for Haven's stupid roommate, Sabine. There wasn't even any supernaturalness to blame it on; it was just him being a guy! Kind of made me sad (I know, I know, realistic). And Haven is off next door hanging with Lucian every midnight, who suddenly relies on her niceness to get him out of the underworld. Eventually, matters were kind of talked out between Lace and Haven, but the whole time I'm in the frustrating place of mind where I want everybody to just communicate. Characters never listen to me though, unfortunately. It always takes them longer to sort their problems out.

   Speaking of the stupid roommate. Sabine is a well developed character don't get me wrong, but she annoys the hell out of me. At first coming off as that gushy girlie insta-bestie...she rang all sorts of warning bells in my head. Perpetually happy people do that to me. And hey, I was right, because she turns to something different. I don't want to spoil anything. But as far as supporting characters go, she's a main one, and very important. As much as I don't like her personally, Sabine makes the plot work.

   So Haven's infatuation with Lucian, aka Mr Evil from book one, didn't feel right. Nothing really added up, maybe some inconsistencies as far as what actually happened between them before, and now all the times they meet in secret...yeah. Haven, remember he's like The Bad Guy, right? As the reader, I think you're supposed to feel bad for him most of the way through the book, but it took until pretty much the last few pages for me to start trusting him. I don't get how Haven can still try to help him after all he did, call me harsh. She's nicer than I'd be. I still don't consider it a love-triangle though. It's not quite there..but it could be. People seem to be on a Team Lucian, which I never thought of before. Huh.

   Setting Infatuate in New Orleans worked perfectly. Haven's group had the cover of being volunteers to help out Katrina recovering and general tutoring to students when really, much more is going on. The constant parties became just the right cover for bad-devil-people-murders and weird supernaturalness to go undetected and lost in the constant confusion. So. Many. People. And you learn a tiny bit of history too; New Orleans is such a fascinating place. It did take me some time to get over the Chicago setting of Illuminate, but both are very unique places, and I'm excited to see where the last book will take place.

   Warning, there is a terrible cliffhanger. I turned the page expecting to have one of those I-can-let-out-my-breath-now moments...but nope! Instead I got to read the acknowledgments page. I seriously didn't expect it. So your welcome for warning you in advance. And I'm sorry, because you may be desperately needing the last book like I am right now.

   Some cover observations: The cover to Illuminate is extremely pretty and fits perfectly. The non-final cover for Infatuate was not good at all, so when they adjusted to this current one I was so glad! (Even though it isn't awesome-worthy, it's not too bad.) At this point, I'm pretty sure it's not changing too much.