ARC Review: Soulprint by Megan Miranda

soulprint by megan miranda

Alina Chase has been contained on an island for the last 17 years—whether that’s for the crimes of her past life, or for her own protection, well, that depends on whom you ask. With soul-fingerprinting a reality, science can now screen for the soul, and everyone knows that Alina’s soul had once belonged to notorious criminal, June Calahan, though that information is supposed to be private. June had accomplished the impossible: hacking into the soul-database, ruining countless lives in the process.

Now, there are whispers that June has left something behind for her next life—something that would allow Alina to access the information in the soul-database again. A way to finish the crimes she started.

Aided by three people with their own secret motivations, Alina escapes, only to discover that she may have just traded one prison for another. And there are clues. Clues only Alina can see and decipher, clues that make it apparent that June is leading her to something. While everyone believes Alina is trying to continue in June’s footsteps, Alina believes June is trying to show her something more. Something bigger. Something that gets at the heart of who they all are—about the past and the present. Something about the nature of their souls.

Alina doesn’t know who to trust, or what June intends for her to know, and the closer she gets to the answers, the more she wonders who June was, who she is, whether she’s destined to repeat the past, whether there are truths best kept hidden—and what one life is really worth.

Description taken from Goodreads. I received an advance copy of this book, to be published February 3rd, 2015, via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. 


This book was incredibly surprising to me because I, in no way, thought I would like this book as much as I did. Sure, it has an interesting plot, but it carries that plot all the way out until the end–and doesn’t release until it’s done.

There are so many great themes to SOULPRINT, and I felt like every single one of them was unique in it’s own way. I loved the idea of soul printing, and the world-building behind this book is entirely real. I can quite literally see Alina’s world through the United States, or even the Canada, of today. For those people who feel like dystopian/future-based novels just aren’t plausible enough, I urge to try SOULPRINT.

It wasn’t even the setting in SOULPRINT that really stuck out of me in the beginning. It was Alina, and the characters around her. The very first thing I thought when I heard her name was Marie Lu’s Alina, and I expected this (somewhat) to end up being a villain’s story.

But’s it’s not, in a weird way, and that’s a lot of the beauty of SOULPRINT.

She’s flawed. She longs for revenge, even when revenge is probably not the smartest thing to be thinking about at the moment. She’s smart but can make stupid decisions. She wants to be free, and she doesn’t want to be judged by people. She even fears that June really is her, at the core.

There were so many things I loved about Alina that were really just nuances of her, and that was why I felt like she was perfect for this story. I did feel like the other characters were solid as well, but I didn’t love them as much as her.

SOULPRINT was a great, really fun read for me. I would definitely recommend it, even though I was slow to like it in the beginning, and will be rereading. 4.3 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 368

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Review: Control by Lydia Kang

An un-putdownable thriller for fans of Uglies

When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn’t even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.

A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.

Description taken from Goodreads.


Just so anyone reading this knows, this book is nothing like UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld. I repeat, CONTROL is nothing, nothing and nothing like UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld. Please do not believe it is.

If you were interested in this book at any one point in time, I would strongly encourage you to go read the XMen comics. Not a fan of comics? Maybe try Transparent by Natalie Whipple or The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell. I would also strongly encourage you to read Uglies, but I would not recommend CONTROL.

Here’s problem one: the hater, who just happens to be the main character. She hates on everyone. Her father, her younger sister, the people who just try to help her, and here’s problem two: the only person she doesn’t hate on is the biggest jerk on the planet. His name is Cy, and his wonderful, super amazing power is that he can regenerate skin fast enough to have a new tattoo every single day. He also seems to be an abusive sadist who fantasizes about gore.

I’m telling you, I can’t make this stuff up. This is actually the guy.

It’s a painting of a dismembered hand, fingers stretching to extremes, but cut off at the wrist, leaning against the wall. The one next to it shows a long bone, still smeared with blood, floating in the same pale blue void the hand is in.

Wonderful. Just wonderful.

Problem number three: no world-building. Whatsoever. Whatever semblance of world-building exists entirely on the concept of suspended disbelief. You think the movies are bad? Read this book. Uniforms exist in every single state, for adults, and the sky isn’t visible because there’s a structure for growing plants because apparently there is now no farmland in Kansas, Iowa or Nebraska.

nebraska farmland

Yup. Definitely no farmland to be found anywhere near here. Guess we gotta build a structure in the sky.

 

And Alaska is a separate country now.

Problem four: these so-called mutants with amazing powers have no place in society. They aren’t feared, hated, envied, threatened, they simply exist. CONTROL tackles none of the social issues and questions that were brought up in the XMen comics and TRANSPARENT.

I just couldn’t deal with CONTROL. It was an exhausting book to read and I didn’t get anything I wished for. Zel hates on everyone around her as well as herself and there is 0 to no character growth in this story. Would not recommend. 1 star.

pg count for the hardback 393

Series: Control #1

Once Upon A Gif: Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes

Once upon a gif is a feature by Hafsah and Asma at Iceybooks, where a pre-review is written with gifs. My full review of LIARS, INC. will come out on February 20th, 2015. 

liars, inc. by paula stokes

For fans of Gone Girl, I Hunt Killers, and TV’s How to Get Away with Murder.

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money and liven up a boring senior year. With the help of his friends Preston and Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?

When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn’t think twice about hooking him up. Until Preston never comes home. Then the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead the cops to Preston’s body. Terrifying clues that point to Max as the murderer.

Can Max find the real killer before he goes to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? In a story that Kirkus Reviews called “Captivating to the very end,” Paula Stokes starts with one single white lie and weaves a twisted tale that will have readers guessing until the explosive final chapters.

Description taken from Goodreads.


LIARS, INC. impressed me from the very beginning. It wasn’t stand-and-shout-to-the-world-how-much-you-love-this-book good, but it was exciting, well-written and with great descriptions.

so beautiful much nice Gandalf gif

Max is one of the more out-of-the-box characters I’ve read. There were so many times when I felt bad for him, or I cheered him on, or he completely disgusted me. For the most part, he was a hero that.. isn’t really a hero at all. Someone could/should do a complete post on the many faces of Max Cantrell. It’d be worth reading. Despite that fact, Max still very much retains who he is at the core (not in a Rob Swanson way, but in a Max way) and it was something I loved about him throughout LIARS, INC.

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I loved how flawed each of the character in this story are, and it was easy to keep track of the cast because not too many people show up in this story.

small crowd gif not being social

Stokes take us into a world spun of lies and everything that leads up to Max in a cabin in the middle of the woods facing two FBI agents. The world-building is beautifully done and everything is well organized so that the mystery remains a mystery but it’s easy to understand.

And the romance. I will say, Parvati isn’t my favorite YA girl. Far far away. Like where Shrek lives far away. But at the same time, I did like her at times, and I didn’t hate her in the end. In fact, I rather liked her romance with Max, and I LOVED how this book turned out. Parvati tries to act tough and cool in the beginning, but as time went on I began to see more of a different side of her. It took way longer than Preston and Max and the other characters, but I came to like her. When she does show vulnerability eventually, it makes it more important to the story.

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Then everything blew up. Not literally, but quite figuratively. The villain was definitely not who I thought they were, and I got so confused (in a good way!) about who was what. Things get more and more messed up, and I came to finally see how perverse it all is.

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Then something happened that truly threw me over the edge, something I wrestled with for awhile and debated not reviewing this book over.

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Check back on February 20th to see my full review!

pg count for the hardback: 368

Review: Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez

kiss kill vanish by jessica martinez

Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.

Description taken from Goodreads.


KISS KILL VANISH didn’t do it for me from page one, and that didn’t help the fact that I was so uninvolved with this book that up until I actually opened it, I thought that the title was Kiss Will Vanish.

First things first: boring. This is a boring runaway story disguised a thriller. It is not a thriller in any way, shape or form. I was bored with the majority of this story, and it didn’t help that Valentina is so unlikable. All she does is complain. Complain. Complain. Much like I’m doing about Valentina right now.

Valentina likes to think she’s better than everyone else, which is part of why I dislike her so much. She is constantly along the lines of if I were at home you would know how cool I am. Speaking of home, of course Valentina ran away from home right after realizing that her boyfriend was a killer. She didn’t stop to think about how to run away or plan at all so she ended up with basically nothing after awhile. Then someone came to rescue, which ends up happening the whole book.

It all goes back to the matter of the boyfriend, or boyfriends, considering this is a love triangle. But the original boyfriend. Valentina ran away in a panic because she saw Emilio kill someone, BUT THE ENTIRE BOOK SHE’S CONSTANTLY PINING AFTER HIM. Yes, even when she’s with the other guy.

Y U MAKE NO SENSE???

Then Valentina’s benefactor dies, and the whole mish mash of nonsense continues. The plot holes, dislikable characters and lack of pacing were only part of why I just couldn’t bring myself to love this story the way I wanted to.

All in all, KISS KILL VANISH is an okay story if you don’t go into it expecting a thriller and you’re okay with Valentina’s minor annoyances. Some books I would recommend instead are TRANSPARENT by Natalie Whipple or LIARS, INC. by Paula Stokes. 2 stars.

pg count for the hardback: n/a

Review: Inked by Eric Smith

inked by eric smith

Tattoos once were an act of rebellion.

Now they decide your destiny the moment the magical Ink settles under your skin.

And in a world where Ink controls your fate, Caenum can’t escape soon enough. He is ready to run from his family, and his best friend Dreya, and the home he has known, just to have a chance at a choice.

But when he upsets the very Scribe scheduled to give him his Ink on his eighteenth birthday, he unwittingly sets in motion a series of events that sends the corrupt, magic-fearing government, The Citadel, after him and those he loves.

Now Caenum, Dreya, and their reluctant companion Kenzi must find their way to the Sanctuary, a secret town where those with the gift of magic are safe. Along the way, they learn the truth behind Ink, its dark origins, and why they are the only ones who can stop the Citadel.

Eric Smith takes you on a high-octane fantasy adventure, perfect for anyone who has dreamed of being different… only to discover that fate is more than skin deep.

Description taken from Goodreads.


INKED had a great concept. For people out there who really enjoy looking at tattoos, I’m sure this book had a lot of interesting ideas behind it, and even for people who aren’t that interested in tattoos. I loved the ideas and power in tattoos in Rick Riordan’s THE RED PYRAMID, and being able to see those kinds of things portrayed in a different light was a lot of fun for me.

Overall, the plot wasn’t bad. It was believable, and I really enjoyed a lot of events in the story. There was lots of fun dialogue and scenes. In fact, my problems with this book really didn’t lie in the plot at all. Or the pacing. Or the writing, characters or themes.

It was all of it put together.

INKED was great, and to someone who is new to young-adult fiction, maybe this book will be awesome for them. To someone who has a lot of experience reading children’s and young-adult fiction, or maybe even just watched a lot of movies, the cliches are undeniable. For example, a boy in love with the girl next door who doesn’t even see him. An occasion that will determine the future of a girl/boy *cough* DIVERGENT *cough* MATCHED *cough*. The government is evil. Whoa.

Quite honestly, I do believe that I could’ve gotten over the fact that INKED is so predictable. It is an enjoyable story once I cut out my sense of predictability. It was more the ending, which is so disappointing because I really wanted to love this book.

The thing is, this ending could have been so much. The most. It’s where Caenum (could not get used to this book. Never throughout the entire story) begins to realize that things aren’t what he thought they were (in a way that was surprisingly not cliched) and there’s a huge ‘ah-ha’ moment for him. Well, it didn’t turn into a ah-ha moment. It turned into deaths. And ruined moments. And could’ve-beens.

I had hoped that this story could be so much more, but it just couldn’t. The ending was too much for me to handle, because I had such high hopes for it, and it fell short of my expectations. 2 stars.

pg count for the ebook: n/a

Once Upon a Gif: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Once upon a gif is a feature by Hafsah and Asma at Iceybooks, where a pre-review is written with gifs. My full review of A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU will come out on February 2nd, 2015. 

a thousand pieces of you by claudia gray

Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

Description taken from Goodreads.


At first, I thought this book was clever.

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But then I realized it was so much more. I got to love the protag, and the people around her, and her relationships with them.

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Then I got into the schematics of it all and the physics and worldbuilding and plot.

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it's magical gif

 

I loved so much of this book, and it truly was amazing to read. I did have a few minor problems with it, but overall it could end up being one of my favorite book of the year. Check back on February 2nd to see my full review!

pg count for the hardback: 339

Series: Anna and the French Kiss

Review: Ignite by Sara B. Larson (Defy #2)

ignite by sara b. larson

Murder, abductions, and forbidden romance abound in this thrilling sequel to Sara B. Larson’s acclaimed YA debut, DEFY.

Alexa remains by the newly crowned King Damian’s side as his guard, ever committed to helping him rebuild Antion and reclaim the hope of Antion’s people, despite continuing to harbor a secret love for him. However, when another threat to Damian and his kingdom emerges, and blame is cast on their newly forged allies from Blevon, Alexa knows things are not what they seem. With the fate of her nation hanging in the balance once again, will Alexa be able to protect her king and uncover the true enemy — before it’s too late?

Description taken from Goodreads.


**This review does have some small spoilers**

I started 2014 off with DEFY, the first book in this trilogy, and 2014 ended up being pretty freaking spectacular so I decided to start 2015 off with IGNITE.

IGNITE starts out where Damian and Alexa left off. And Damian’s king, which makes this book entirely different from DEFY. In the spirit of love and honor, let’s talk about the romance first.

This series is a love triangle. To be honest, I don’t really enjoy love triangles, but I’m open to them when a good one comes up (i.e. Marie Rutkoski’s THE WINNER’S CURSE). This book really teeters in the middle of a good love triangle and a bad one for me. For one thing, I do like the romance. Damian and Alexa seem like a good couple to me, but Alexa and Rylan? I really just don’t see why the love triangle exists, or if it’s even a love triangle, because Alexa has absolutely no interest in Rylan in that way and for most of IGNITE Damian doesn’t even know that Rylan likes Alexa. It’s basically all Rylan by himself, so I don’t know if something is going to happen in DEFY #3 or what, but I had wanted to see more of Rylan and what’s going on in IGNITE.

Despite that, the romance was still very much in IGNITE. One thing I thought was a little sketch was when Alexa reveals all her fears to Damian and he brushes them away by saying that maybe all people aren’t like that and his opinion is the only one that matters. I can kind of accept this, but Alexa being convinced that he’s right and that the people will just love her because Damian said so and Damian’s opinion is the only one that matters when he’s a king and he’s got a nation to rule? ehhhhhh probably not.

There were a few other instances I’m not going to name here of things going a little towards the direction of suspended disbelief, but I really did love the romance in IGNITE. Alexa and Damian finally get somewhere, and they confront the fears from both Damian and Alexa’s sides. Larson did a fantastic job with Alexa’s inner-conflict and acceptance, and I hope that she continues on with Alexa. Initially, in DEFY, I didn’t think that Alexa could grow very much as a character, but she does in IGNITE, and I was really impressed by that.

As for plot, I did think it went around in circles a little where Damian and Alexa are stuck in this trap of trying to save everyone and everything that goes awry. I really enjoyed the cliffhanger that Larson leaves off on, but I CANNOT wait for the next book in the series. Larson also really focused on Damian’s struggle with his new duty as king and the scars that come back from his past. She wrote the political sides to this story very well, in a way that wasn’t boring and moved quickly but still covered what needed to be covered.

Overall, I think that IGNITE was much better organized than DEFY. I never had to go back to see what was going on and the book follows a very clear storyline. I was interested the entire time that I was reading it, and the pace never slowed down too much. I did want a little more action/actual fight scenes and less of the Girl Terminator archetype, but this book isn’t nearly as bad as many of those that have come out recently.

There’s plenty going on to keep the reader occupied, and the plot points are well-covered but not frustrating. IGNITE was very realistic in the sense that it talked about Alexa’s struggles with herself and others, and I enjoyed those parts a lot. It also went way more in-depth with the supporting characters and showed me different sides to them.

I would recommend DEFY and IGNITE to high fantasy fans and people who loved DEFY. Whether you want good juju or you’re simply looking for a great book, pick up a copy of IGNITE and join me in starting off 2015 right. :D 4 stars

pg count for the ebook: 304

Series: Defy #2