Saturday, 23 May 2015

Review: The Cage by Megan Shepherd

Title: The Cage (The Cage #1)
Author: Megan Shepherd

Release date: May 26th 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Format: eARC
Pages: 308

Source: Edelweiss

The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in this gripping new series about teens held captive in a human zoo by an otherworldly race. From Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of The Madman's Daughter trilogy.

When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn't know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn't alone.

Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora's past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren't from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.

As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer—though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so . . . what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?

The Cage does slightly remind me of The Maze Runner, in the sense that the characters have no idea what's going on at first (including where they are) and they have to figure it all out. I enjoyed the premise of this, and I'm definitely curious about what happens next. But I had issues with characters and minor details, so there were things I didn't like as well.

Out of nowhere, Cora finds herself in a desert with no recollection of how she got there. She meets only four other people - Lucky, Rolf, Nok, and Leon. All five of them are very different from each other, but they have one thing in common - they're trapped in an unknown place with no idea how to get out. Using their wits and survival skills, aided by information from Cassian, their guard, they realize they are basically like animals in a zoo to an alien species. But they aren't mistreated at all, and slowly, one by one, they begin to accept their fate. All but Cora. Will she find a way out before she's removed by the aliens for her rebelliousness?

I think Cora was the only likeable character throughout the novel, and even she can get annoying at times. She's strong-willed and determined, and I liked that she never gives up. But she makes some stupid decisions and she's incredibly naive for someone who's seemingly smart. Also, her attraction to Cassian, the guard, kind of reminds me of Stockholm syndrome, which makes the whole thing kind of creepy.

I did like the other characters at first, especially Lucky. He seems like a natural leader and he's the one who holds the group together. Lucky and Cora begin to have a bit of a romance, until circumstances get in the way. Even Lucky, with all his strength, succumbs to his fate in the 'zoo'. Neither him nor the other captives want to leave anymore. They just want to obey the rules set by the aliens. I thought that was pretty pathetic, regardless of what made them feel that way. If Cora can keep a level head and have the sense to remember that she doesn't belong and she needs to go home, why can't they?

There are a lot of things that aren't explained enough, and I ended up with a bunch of unanswered questions. Ideas were introduced and then just left there, so the plot gets kind of messy sometimes. On the whole, I think it was a little overcomplicated. If some aspects were taken out or maybe introduced in the sequel instead, I would have enjoyed this more.

If you're not a fan of sci-fi, I don't think you'll want to stick through finishing this one. I adore sci-fi and that's why I will be continuing this series, to find out more about this world. I'm also hoping for a lot more character development, because I can't sit through another novel of Lucky and the rest blindly accepting everything they're told and Cora running around aware but helpless.

*Thank you to HarperCollins for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #99: Ten Thousand Skies Above You

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week's WoW is...

Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray

Title: Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird #2)
Author: Claudia Gray

Release date: November 3rd 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Marguerite Caine has done the impossible, traveling to alternate dimensions with the Firebird—the brilliant invention of her parents, her boyfriend, Paul, and their friend Theo. But she has also caught the attention of enemies willing to kidnap, blackmail, and even kill to use the Firebird for themselves.

When Paul’s soul is splintered into four pieces—pieces that are trapped within Pauls in other dimensions—Marguerite will do anything, and travel anywhere, to save him. But the price of his safe return is steep. If she doesn’t sabotage her parents in multiple universes, Paul will be lost forever.

Unwilling to sacrifice her family, Marguerite enlists the brilliant Theo to help. The two forge a plan to save Paul and the Firebird, but succeeding means outsmarting a genius and risking not only their lives but also the lives of their counterparts in every other dimension.

Their mission takes them to the most dangerous universes yet: a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each leap brings Marguerite closer to saving Paul—but her journey reveals dark truths that lead her to doubt the one constant she’s found between the worlds: their love for each other.

I love love love this cover! Just as beautiful as its predecessor's. I remember that this was one of my favourite new series of 2014, and I'm super stoked for this sequel. The multiverse is a concept that I can never get bored of in YA fiction, and this book seems like it will be on par or even better than the previous one.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Review: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Title: Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1)
Author: Katie McGarry

Release date: May 26th 2014
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Format: eARC
Pages: 494

Source: Edelweiss

An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

Nowhere But Here is just as riveting and emotional as Katie McGarry’s previous books. This new series just proved to me that I will read anything McGarry writes! I love these characters, I loved the story, and I really cannot wait to see whose story we read next.

Emily leads a normal life with her mom and adoptive dad, but she meets her real dad once a year – her real dad who is high up in a motorcycle gang. The Reign of Terror, scary as it sounds, is actually a good, clean gang that goes by the rules. It’s more like a family than anything else, and Emily finds that out soon enough when she spends the summer with her father and the gang, along the way discovering the truth about her parents and also falling in love – something she never expected to happen in Kentucky.

It took me a little while to warm to Emily, mostly because of her refusal to see what’s right in front of her. She wants to stay within her comfort zone, which is acceptable, but she also denies the truth even though everything she knows points towards it. But this is just at first. Later on, she opens up to the people around her, especially to her father Eli, her grandmother Olivia, and Oz, a hopeful prospect of the gang who is like family to Eli and Olivia. I really liked Emily later on, though. She has a strong character and her willingness to face her fears really impressed me. Emily gets thrown into a pretty bad situation and she adapts well to everything despite the odds.

I adored Oz too, of course. He’s perhaps not on par with McGarry’s previous male protagonists, but still incredibly loveable. Like with Emily, it took me a while to warm to him. At first he seemed a little shallow, caring only about his chances of getting in the club. Everything he did was for that, and when he falls asleep on the job while watching over Emily, his first thought is not of Emily’s safety but what it means for his odds of getting in the club. But I loved seeing the slow and gradual mutual liking of Oz and Emily. They spend a lot of time together and though at first they dislike each other, they begin to get closer and closer. Oz’s protectiveness of her is really sweet and his character is impossible to dislike. He’s funny and kind and just as stubborn as Emily.

There are hints of danger throughout the book, which I loved, but I can’t say I was too fond of the plot twist towards the end. I won’t say much about it, but I just felt like it took away a lot of the danger aspect. Regardless, I enjoyed the book a lot. I love the relationship between Emily and Oz, and I liked that family plays a big role in the plot. The other teenagers we see in this book are all really interesting and quite mysterious, so I’m excited for the next book, whoever it will follow. If you liked McGarry’s other books, or just YA contemporary in general, you have to read Nowhere But Here! It’s intense, amusing, and emotional all at once.

*Thank you to Harlequin TEEN for providing me with an eARC for review*

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #98: Scorched

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week's WoW is...

Scorched by J. Lynn

Title: Scorched (Frigid #2)
Author: J. Lynn

Release date: June 16th 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Sometimes life leaves a mark.

Most days, Andrea doesn't know whether she wants to kiss Tanner or punch him in the gut. He is seriously hot, with legit bedroom eyes and that firefighter body of his, but he's a major player, and he never cuts her any slack.

But when her life spirals out of control, he's there for her. The only problem is, no one else can save her... only she can save herself.

Even though I'm not reading NA anymore, I just have to make an exception for JLA. Especially because I really enjoyed Frigid and I can't wait to read Andrea and Tyler's story. Hopefully JLA will work her magic and I'll love this too!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #97: Sound

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week's WoW is...

Sound by Alexandra Duncan

Title: Sound (Salvage #2)
Author: Alexandra Duncan

Release date: September 22nd 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction

Sound is the stand-alone companion to Alexandra Duncan’s acclaimed novel Salvage, a debut that internationally bestselling author Stephanie Perkins called “kick-ass, brilliant, feminist science fiction.” For fans of Beth Revis, Firefly, and Battlestar Galactica.

As a child, Ava’s adopted sister Miyole watched her mother take to the stars, piloting her own ship from Earth to space making deliveries. Now a teen herself, Miyole is finally living her dream as a research assistant on her very first space voyage. If she plays her cards right, she could even be given permission to conduct her own research and experiments in her own habitat lab on the flight home. But when her ship saves a rover that has been viciously attacked by looters and kidnappers, Miyole—along with a rescued rover girl named Cassia—embarks on a mission to rescue Cassia’s abducted brother, and that changes the course of Miyole’s life forever.

I just recently found out that Salvage is getting a companion novel. I'm definitely happy with the news, because I liked the premise of Salvage and the world that Alexandra Duncan has created. I'll need a re-read to get up to speed with characters and plot, but from this synopsis I'm already excited.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #96: Walk on Earth a Stranger

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week's WoW is...

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Title: Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer Trilogy #1)
Author: Rae Carson

Release date: September 22nd 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

2014 saw a rise in the number of YA fantasies, and 2015 seems to be carrying on the trend. This book sounds so cool! The premise is really interesting and I can't wait to find out more about it.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #95: Sweet Temptation

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My pick for this week's WoW is...

Sweet Temptation by Wendy Higgins

Title: Sweet Temptation (The Sweet Trilogy #4)
Author: Wendy Higgins

Release date: September 8th 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal

Bad boy Kaidan Rowe has never wanted for anything—money, popularity, musical talent…hot girls—but seducing them is part of his duty as a Nephilim, slave to the demon Dukes. As the son of the Duke of Lust, Kaidan has learned his father’s ways, becoming a master of passion, a manipulator of chemistry. Disobeying his father would mean certain death. Thankfully for Kaidan, he’s good at his job. And he enjoys it.

Until he meets Anna Whitt—sweet, smart, feisty, and inexplicably good—the one girl seemingly immune to his charms. The daughter of a guardian angel and a fallen one, she has a certain power over him, one that makes him wish for more than he could ever deserve.

Determined to save all the Neph from their dark lives as the influencers of sin, Anna joins forces with Kaidan to overcome the demons’ oppressive ways. In the light of her affections, Kaidan must undergo his toughest test of all, a battle of the heart.

Sensual and swoon worthy, this companion volume to the acclaimed Sweet Evil series from New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins, told from the perspective of the irresistibly sexy and mysterious Kaidan Rowe, gives readers revealing insights into his struggle, his intense connection to Anna, and most of all, the true emotions that drive him.

Words cannot express how excited I am for this! An entire book in Kaidan's POV? Yes please! We'll also get to see Kai's life before he meets Anna, which I'm really curious about. I hope there isn't too much repetition in this book, but either way I'm sure I'll love it.