The Martian by Andy Weir

GoodReads Summary:
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?
The MartianReview:
I absolutely loved this book. I bought it a few months ago after Antonia read it and loved it. But I couldn’t seem to pick it up until the Bookclub I’m in with a few local friends pick this one for March’s book. I read this book on the best day, it was warm and sunny so I got to sit outside and imagine myself on Mars.
Mark Watney was such a great character. He’s trapped on Mars after his crew left him behind thinking he didn’t survive after getting hit by a piece of equipment during a dust storm. The best part of this book was Mark. Despite facing what is likely imminent death he has such a positive attitude. He really excelled at focusing on one problem at a time. He has a really great mindset of “well I’ll worry about starving later because I won’t be able to worry about starving if I can’t solve problem x right now.” I think this was one of the best parts of the book.
Once we get to see what’s going on back at NASA the story really gains momentum. Things seem to move fast even though time isn’t actually moving fast, but we only get updates from Mark every few days. But the whole book was high stakes and full of excitement even if Mark made the situation seem funnier than it was.
Overall, this book was funny and exciting. Sometimes it felt like I was right there with him trying to work through the problems that he needed to solve for his survival. I loved everything about this story and I am beyond excited to read more books by this author.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Supernova by Marissa Meyer

GoodReads Summary:
The epic conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s thrilling Renegades Trilogy finds Nova and Adrian fighting to keep their identities secret. While the battle rages on between their alter egos and their allies, there is a darker threat shrouding Gatlon City.
The Renegades’ worst enemy is back among them, threatening to reclaim Gatlon City. Nova and Adrian must brave lies and betrayal to protect those they love. Their greatest fears are about to come to life, and unless they can bridge the divide between heroes and villains, they stand to lose everything. Including each other.
Intrigue and action will leave readers on edge until the final, shocking secrets are revealed.
Supernova (Renegades, #3)Review:
I have to start this by saying that I listened to the audiobook and somehow I managed to listen to all seventeen hours in less than two days. This may make it seem like I really loved the story, which isn’t completely true. I really enjoy the characters and the conflicts and the things going on, but I had issues. I was annoyed quite a bit but I was definitely gripped by the story.
Supernova was the finale book in the Renegades trilogy. It’s a series I was determined to finish this year (because 2020 is the year of finishing series I’ve gotten behind on.) Superficially, I had fun with this book but I spent most of the time yelling in my head “JUST TELL THE TRUTH ALREADY!” I thought this in the direction of several characters.
So, there’s Nova. She’s a complex character. I really loved her as a whole because of her inner struggle, between loyalty to the villain family that raised her or the heroes that she’s struggling not to agree with. This inner battle was honestly fascinating. Her journey was the only reason I kept going in this series, to see how her choices fell and her story ended.
Adrian was interesting too, but he just irritated me. He had a great life. Though it’s sad he lost his mother, he had two wonderful adoptive dads and brother. He had powers to draw things that come to life. But that wasn’t enough for him. He had something to prove. Enter his alter ego, who is a vigilante and plays outside the rules that his dads enforce for all Renegades. I just wanted him to tell his parents and Nova the whole book.
Between Nova’s secret identity and Adrian’s, I was just annoyed. I really hate the secret-keeping trope when if Nova had just told the truth the plot twist (which I should have seen coming but totally didn’t) would have come out earlier and maybe she could have become a hero sooner.
Overall, this story was action-packed and full of interesting and diverse characters. I loved all the supporting characters and their stories. I loved that Nova and Adrian were both morally gray. The audiobook was super well done and kept me engaged, but there were just too many moments that really annoyed me.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Life Below by Alexandra Monir

GoodReads Summary:
As Naomi lifts off into space and away from a rapidly deteriorating Earth, she watches the world fade away, and along with it Leo, a Final Six contestant she grew close to during training. Leaving Earth behind is hard, but what’s ahead, on Europa, could be worse. The International Space Training Camp continues to hide the truth about what happened to the last group of astronauts who attempted a similar colonization but failed mysteriously. With one shot—at this mission and to Europa—Naomi is determined to find out if there is alien life on Europa before she and her crew get there.
Leo, back on Earth, has been working with renegade scientist Dr. Greta Wagner, who promises to fly him to space where he can essentially latch on to Naomi’s ship. And if Wagner’s hypothesis is right, it isn’t a possibility of coming in contact with extraterrestrial life on Europa—it’s a definite. With Naomi unaware of what awaits, it’s up to Leo to find and warn her and the others.
With all the pieces of their journey finally clicking into place, everything else starts to fall apart. A storm threatens to interfere with Leo’s takeoff, a deadly entity makes itself known to the Final Six, and the questions the ISTC has been avoiding about the previous failed mission get answered in the worst way possible. If the dream was to establish a habitable domain on Europa… the Final Six are about to enter a nightmare.
The Life Below (The Final Six, #2)Review:
I loved this book. I really loved the first book, The Final Six, but honestly, I think I somehow loved this second installment even more. I really adore series that have books that just keep getting better. This seems like it’s definitely going to be one of those.
I loved everything about this book. The crew has officially left the Earth and things are getting real. We follow the crew through the perspective of Naomi and Leo, as we did in the first book. Traveling through outer space is fascinating, but sad for some of them. Naomi will likely never see her family again. There are some losses and they totally took me by surprise. I thought the author did such a good job of showing what happens to these characters rather than just telling us the events. Naomi feels alone now that Leo is not with her, but she does her job and manages to make friends. Leo, however, is doing whatever he needs to get back to her. I loved their love story more and more with every page. Getting to see them reunite what literally my favorite part.
Now, science fiction is one of my favorite genres. This book had some really excellent science parts. The crew is flying through space. They need to make a pit stop near Mars before continuing onto Europa. I thought the Mars bits were horrifying and fascinating. Then we get to get to Europa and things get even more horrifying and fascinating. I liked that the science was well explained so that I could understand it but not overly dumbed down for me. The creatures and their reactions, as well as the crew’s reactions, were all so realistic.
Overall, I feel like I’m not doing this book justice. So, if you’re a science fiction lover like me, please just go buy or borrow The Final Six so that you can read this incredible sequel.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Archenemies by Marissa Meyer

GoodReads Summary:
Nova’s double life is about to get a lot more complicated:
As Insomnia, she is a full-fledged member of the Renegades, a syndicate of powerful and beloved superheroes. She works with Adrian’s patrol unit to protect the weak and maintain order in Gatlon City.
As Nightmare, she is an Anarchist—a group of villains who are determined to destroy the Renegades. Nova wants vengeance against the so-called heroes who once failed her when she needed them the most.
But as Nova, her feelings for Adrian are deepening, despite the fact that he is the son of her sworn enemies and, unbeknownst to Nova, he has some dangerous secrets of his own.
In this second installment of the Renegades trilogy, Nova, Adrian, and the rest of their crew—Ruby, Oscar, and Danna—are faced with escalating crime in Gatlon City, while covert weapons and conflicting missions have Nova and Adrian questioning not only their beliefs about justice but also the feelings they have for each other.
The line between good and evil has been blurred, but what’s clear to them both is that too much power could mean the end of their City—and the world—as they know it.
Archenemies (Renegades, #2)Review:
I’ve tried to start Archenemies a few times and just couldn’t get into it for some reason. But this time I finally stuck through, I’m glad I did because after not too long I was really invested in the story.
There are so many different secrets being kept in this book. Adrian’s secret, Nova’s many secrets. I liked this aspect but it was frustrating at times because I just want the truth to come out.
Nova’s struggle was an interesting one. She’s working for the Renegades and getting to know them as people instead of the anonymous face of the organization that didn’t save her parents. But she’s still loyal to her makeshift family, the Anarchists. This internal battle is one that I really cannot wait to see the outcome of.
Adrian is torn between his secret identity and doing what he knows will make his dads proud. He’s also very interested in Nova.
I liked the relationship between these two and I’m anxious to find out how things will turn out when their secrets are revealed.
Overall, I did enjoy this one. I’m excited to finish the series with the final book and see how everything is going to come together.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Last Human by Zack Jordan

GoodReads Summary:
The last human in the universe is on the run from a godlike intelligence in this rip-roaring debut space opera.
Sarya is the civilized galaxy’s worst nightmare: a Human.
Most days, Sarya doesn’t feel like the most terrifying creature in the galaxy.
Most days, she’s got other things on her mind. Like hiding her identity among the hundreds of alien species roaming the corridors of Watertower Station. Or making sure her adoptive mother doesn’t casually eviscerate one of their neighbors. Again.
And most days, she can almost accept that she’ll never know the truth–that she’ll never know why humanity was deemed too dangerous to exist. Or whether she really is–impossibly–the lone survivor of a species destroyed a millennium ago.
That is, until an encounter with a bounty hunter and a miles-long kinetic projectile leaves her life and her perspective shattered.
Thrown into the universe at the helm of a stolen ship–with the dubious assistance of a rebellious spacesuit, an android death enthusiast on his sixtieth lifetime, and a ball of fluff with an IQ in the thousands–Sarya begins to uncover an impossible truth.
What if humanity’s death and her own existence are simply two moves in a demented cosmic game, one played out by vast alien intellects? Stranger still, what if these mad gods are offering Sarya a seat at their table–and a second chance for humanity?
The Last Human is a sneakily brilliant, gleefully oddball space-opera debut–a masterful play on perspective, intelligence, and free will, wrapped in a rollicking journey through a strange and crowded galaxy.
The Last HumanReview:
Shout out of thanks to NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This review is going to be short (hopefully) because I just didn’t like this book. There was a lot of potentials for me to like it because we follow what is supposedly the last human being in the universe. As she hides her identity, we meet the Widow that adopted her. And then many other alien species as she goes off on adventures. My biggest problem with this book was that it focused on the wrong things. Instead of telling the reader anything about what these species look like aside from small things that we sort of have to put together to get the whole picture (giant spiders? Cyborgs? Tiny spiders?) the story focuses on their culture and things other than the physical details. This was interesting but left me confused in the moment. Character interactions we hard because I couldn’t really picture the characters, even the human. Because she’s hiding with a Widow mother but was she disguised? Or was she just looking human the whole time and no one knew what they looked like?
I just spent most of this book confused. There was a lot going on and so much of it that was just over my head. I don’t want to go into detail about everything that confused me, but there was more than just the characters. Technical things too that were important to the story were a bit muddled. I also didn’t like the main character. She had moments where I liked her but she complained so much and did all the wrong things. I just wanted someone to kill her and be done with it.
Overall, this was a miss for me. I definitely think there are others out there who will enjoy this, but it’s not for me. I did see a few reviews that also mentioned the lack of character descriptions bothering them as well.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen

GoodReads Summary:
Six years after a global pandemic wiped out most of the planet’s population, the survivors are rebuilding the country, split between self-governing cities, hippie communes and wasteland gangs.
In postapocalyptic San Francisco, former pop star Moira has created a new identity to finally escape her past—until her domineering father launches a sweeping public search to track her down. Desperate for a fresh start herself, jaded event planner Krista navigates the world on behalf of those too traumatized to go outside, determined to help everyone move on—even if they don’t want to. Rob survived the catastrophe with his daughter, Sunny, but lost his wife. When strict government rules threaten to separate parent and child, Rob needs to prove himself worthy in the city’s eyes by connecting with people again.
Krista, Moira, Rob and Sunny are brought together by circumstance, and their lives begin to twine together. But when reports of another outbreak throw the fragile society into panic, the friends are forced to finally face everything that came before—and everything they still stand to lose.
Because sometimes having one person is enough to keep the world going.
A Beginning at the EndReview:
After reading and completely loving Mike Chen’s first book (Here and Now and Then) I had really high hopes for A Beginning at the End and it was definitely one of my anticipated releases. Sadly, I’m really glad I got it from the library so I didn’t waste money on this book. I really didn’t love it.
Chen’s writing definitely had me drawn into the story and I felt like I was enjoying it while I was reading and actually in the story. But once I finished the final pages and closed the book I felt like I had no idea what I’d just read.
We’re in a post-apocalyptic world, one that’s managed to rebuilt (or is in the process of rebuilding anyway). There are three characters that we follow and they each have a different view on the world. I did like the characters, they were pretty much what made this book because their actions were so low stakes (in an overall sense) and I loved that they were all brought together, but their goals were just not what this book should have been about. I don’t want to complain too much because there was growth and development for each character, but I just was disappointed after how much I loved Chen’s first book.
Overall, this was a miss for me. But I love this author, so I’d definitely still recommend it because not all of us have the exact same reading taste. So, feel free to give it a try!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Electric Heir by Victoria Lee

GoodReads Summary:
Six months after Noam Álvaro helped overthrow the despotic government of Carolinia, the Atlantians have gained citizenship, and Lehrer is chancellor. But despite Lehrer’s image as a progressive humanitarian leader, Noam has finally remembered the truth that Lehrer forced him to forget—that Lehrer is responsible for the deadly magic infection that ravaged Carolinia.
Now that Noam remembers the full extent of Lehrer’s crimes, he’s determined to use his influence with Lehrer to bring him down for good. If Lehrer realizes Noam has evaded his control—and that Noam is plotting against him—Noam’s dead. So he must keep playing the role of Lehrer’s protégé until he can steal enough vaccine to stop the virus.
Meanwhile Dara Shirazi returns to Carolinia, his magic stripped by the same vaccine that saved his life. But Dara’s attempts to ally himself with Noam prove that their methods for defeating Lehrer are violently misaligned. Dara fears Noam has only gotten himself more deeply entangled in Lehrer’s web. Sooner or later, playing double agent might cost Noam his life.
The Electric Heir (Feverwake #2)Review:
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me this eARC in exchange for an honest review. So, if you read my review for the first book you’ll remember that I said I was bored for the first chunk of it. That was definitely not the case with The Electric Heir. This book felt like almost nonstop action. There was so much going on that it was almost hard to follow at times.
We get two perspectives this time. One is Noam’s and the other is Dara’s. Dara is still my favorite and must be protected at all costs. I believe I mentioned in my review for the first book that I could really relate to him and that’s why I liked him so much. I too have struggled with alcohol and still do. So the parts with Dara trying to stay away from drinking even though he literally lived above a bar hit me hard. I know what he was feeling and I really just love him. I felt betrayed by Noam when he did, I was feeling all of the things right beside him. I think he has incredible growth in this book and I’ll love him forever.
Now, Noam. Honestly…I hated him. I was just as pissed as Dara was when I found out what he’d been doing with Lehrer. He was the kind of person that thinks he knows what he’s doing and because of that won’t take advice from those that actually know more than him. He really just made me mad over and over again. I felt bad for him at times because he didn’t deserve to be going through some of the things he had to deal with but he still really made me mad.
I loved that the rest of the friends from Level IV got involved in the craziness too. They are a great found family and I adored them.
As for the ending, I’m a bit disappointed. It seemed a little rushed to me. I liked the transcripts that summed up a bit of right after the big climax, but we get a sort of summary after that and I thought it could have been more. I don’t know if I missed it or what but I didn’t see anything about the big bad losing his power or dying and that’s very disappointing to me. I did see there were some legal ramifications. But they weren’t explained.
I really enjoyed that we got to see more of this version of America and hear a bit about how the other places (Texas) run things. It was something I’d hoped for in this sequel and I’m glad that I got it.
Overall, this was a quick read because so much is happening and it’s all very high stakes. But I’m left with so many questions about the end result of the villain. While I definitely liked this series and understand why so many love it, it wasn’t anything over the top for me.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Bonds of Brass by Emily Strutskie

GoodReads Summary:
A young pilot risks everything to save his best friend–the man he trusts most and might even love–only to learn that he’s secretly the heir to a brutal galactic empire.
Ettian Nassun’s life was shattered when the merciless Umber Empire invaded. He’s spent seven years putting himself back together under its rule, joining an Umber military academy and becoming the best pilot in his class. Even better, he’s met Gal Veres–his exasperating and infuriatingly enticing roommate who’s made the Academy feel like a new home.
But when dozens of classmates spring an assassination plot on Gal, a devastating secret comes to light: Gal is the heir to the Umber Empire. Ettian barely manages to save his best friend and flee the compromised Academy unscathed, rattled both that Gal stands to inherit the empire that broke him and that there are still people willing to fight back against Umber rule. As they piece together a way to deliver Gal safely to his throne, Ettian finds himself torn in half by an impossible choice. Does he save the man who’s won his heart and trust that Gal’s goodness could transform the empire? Or does he throw his lot in with the brewing rebellion and fight to take back what’s rightfully theirs?
Bonds of Brass (The Bloodright Trilogy #1)Review:
Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Bonds of Brass was immediately interesting. I love stories that take place in schools, which this was essentially a school in space. There were many things I love about this book, the characters, the world-building, the secrets, the romance. I loved it all.
We follow Ettain as his whole world changes. He’s found out that his roommate, best friend, and crush is actually the heir to literally everything. A secret that’s been kept for years. He figures out that things aren’t going how their supposed to and rescues him. I loved and laughed during these pages. The pair manage to escape and find themselves on a planet outside of the empire that Gal is intended to inherit. Things were a little slow at times when they were in this other world. But they make friends with a local and she becomes a part of their little run-away crew. All of them are pilots, some more trained than others.
As I mentioned, there were lots of secrets. One in particular toward the end that I legitimately said “no fucking way” out loud and my husband definitely gave me the side-eye. I think the suspense and drama leading up to this secret was so well done.
Overall, I loved this. I loved all the piloting, all the antics, and banter. I love the different parts of the world, the action, and drama. But that ending was a killer. We’re left with a cliffhanger that may or may not has actually torn out a piece of my heart. A definite must-read for science fiction lovers. Also, a side note. I’ve read this is Star Wars related, but I’m not a big part of that fandom so I don’t know much about those connections, but not knowing didn’t make me enjoy this any less.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow

GoodReads Summary:
Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.
Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. Deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, humanity’s emotional transgressions are now grounds for execution. All art, books and creative expression are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.
Born in a lab, M0Rr1S (Morris) was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.
Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while making a story and a song of their own that just might save them both.
The Sound of StarsReview:
Thank you to NetGalley and the applicable publishers for providing me an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I had to wait a few days to write this review because I had to talk with a friend who also read it and gather my full thoughts. I know I say this a lot but, which any book there were things I liked and things I didn’t. I think it’s pretty even on what I liked and what I didn’t.
This story follows Ellie who is a human living in a distant future where the world has been taken over by aliens. I really liked Ellie. She’s an avid reader and managed to hide her books and lend them out to others that living in her building. She lends books and follows the motions to get through the day. I believe she’s pansexual, though that word is never actually used. But she does say that gender doesn’t matter if she feels a deep connection to a person.
We also follow Morris, which is spelled with numbers in his language. He’s an alien that’s developed the “vaccine” that his superiors plan to use on the human race. He has a secret too. He loves music, though he’s not supposed to. I liked Morris because he wanted better for his people. He wasn’t in agreement with the things they were making him do and he was working toward dismantling the system.
I thought the concept of the aliens was really interesting. But there was a lot I didn’t understand about them. They seemed almost like cyborgs but I feel like it wasn’t very well explained. There were also other aliens that we met and their species (?) wasn’t explained very well either. Though I did see the identity of the other aliens coming from a mile away.
Another problem I had with this book was that it was a bit repetitive and over political. Our main character is black and lived in the Upper East Side before the alien invasion so she dealt with a lot of racism. I’m all about these sorts of topics because they’re real and relevant, but she mentioned it about a hundred times. I think it would have been okay to mention a few different events. But she thought about and talked about the same events over and over.
Overall, I had a good time reading this book. Right up until the ending. If there’s going to be another book (I’ve not seen it announced anywhere or anything) I’m more okay with the ending, but the final action scene seemed rushed and the events after were even more rushed. There wasn’t really a resolution either. I’m really hoping it has a sequel because if not, the whole goal they were working toward was never achieved. So if there will be another (which I will be asking when I see this author at the NoVaTeen Book Festival) I can accept the ending but if not then I will definitely be lowering my rating. This was a fun science fiction book, but it has a few issues.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

This Vicious Cure by Emily Suvada

GoodReads Summary:
Cat’s hacking skills weren’t enough to keep her from losing everything—her identity, her past, and now her freedom. She’s trapped and alone, but she’s survived this long, and she’s not giving up without a fight.
Though the outbreak has been contained, a new threat has emerged—one that’s taken the world to the brink of a devastating war. With genetic technology that promises not just a cure for the plague, but a way to prevent death itself, both sides will stop at nothing to seize control of humanity’s future.
Facing her smartest, most devastating enemy yet, Cat must race against the clock to protect her friends and save the lives of millions on the planet’s surface. No matter the outcome, humanity will never be the same.
And this time, Cat can’t afford to let anything, or anyone, stand in her way.
This Vicious Cure (This Mortal Coil, #3)Review:
This Vicious Cure was an excellent finale to a series that I’ve recently decided is a new all-time favorite. I loved everything about it. The characters, the plot, the writing. I’m blown away by Suvada’s storytelling ability.
In this final installment, we follow June Bei and Catarina in their own chapters. I thought this was the perfect way to tell the story. At the end of book two, we’re left wondering what’s happened to both girls and the finale being told this way gives us the answers. I loved that they both have their own different missions and even if they don’t know or are not communicating with one another they are eventually working toward the same thing. It was honestly hard to like June Bei at times. She makes choices I don’t like or agree with but comes around to do the right thing eventually. While Catarina is working toward fixing what June Bei has done the whole time.
So much happens that I honestly don’t even know what to say about all of the supporting characters. I would have liked to see more of Dax, but I still really enjoyed getting to know the rest of the kids that June Bei grew up within the lab. We meet the final one and reunite with Anna. There were secrets exposed and they all blew me away.
Overall, this book was everything I wanted. I definitely want everyone to read this series. So, stop what you’re doing and go pick it up right now.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Girls With Razor Hearts by Suzanne Young

GoodReads Review:
It’s been weeks since Mena and the other girls of Innovations Academy escaped their elite boarding school. Although traumatized by the violence and experimentations that occurred there, Mena quickly discovers that the outside world can be just as unwelcoming and cruel. With no one else to turn to, the girls only have each other—and the revenge-fueled desire to shut down the corporation that imprisoned them.
The girls enroll in Stoneridge Prep, a private school with suspect connections to Innovations, to identify the son of an investor and take down the corporation from the inside. But with pressure from Leandra, who revealed herself to be a double-agent, and Winston Weeks, an academy investor gone rogue, Mena wonders if she and her friends are simply trading one form of control for another. Not to mention the woman who is quite literally invading Mena’s thoughts—a woman with extreme ideas that both frighten and intrigue Mena.
And as the girls fight for freedom from their past—and freedom for the girls still at Innovations—they must also face new questions about their existence…and what it means to be girls with razor hearts.
Girls with Razor Hearts (Girls with Sharp Sticks, #2)Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for approving my request for this eARC in exchange for an honest review. This second book made me just as angry as the first. But this one was less with the girls than with the rest of the world. The things that the girls face in this world hit a bit close to home. They were things that women in the real world deal with every day and it honestly just hurt my heart.
I think my favorite part of this book is Young’s writing. She tells the story in a way that I just can’t put it down. The story was fast-paced, even though not much really happened.
Sadly, as I said above, not all that much happened in this story. They had a mission and successfully completed it along with a bit of a side mission. But other than that, they didn’t learn much more about themselves and I wanted them to take more of an initiative to make the word different. They helped the school they attended, but they didn’t really have any ideas or plans for the bigger picture.
I still enjoyed this book and flew through it. It was a wild ride. But I didn’t love it. I think maybe this series is just not for me because I didn’t love the first one either. But I will probably eventually read the third just to see what’s going to happen next.

Quotes:

“All the attention society pays to the behavior of girls, and never once have they realized how they’re neglecting their boys. The absence of rules is turning them into feral animals.”

“Deeply felt emotions are our power. Our ability to feel is just as important as our ability to think.”

“Words have immeasurable power, Philomena. They affect what we believe, how we see the world.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Fever King by Victoria Lee

GoodReads Summary:
In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.
The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make a change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.
Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.
The Fever King (Feverwake, #1)Review:
I have to be honest here, as I am with all of my reviews. I almost chose not to finish this book because for the first twenty percent or so I was just bored. Things didn’t really get interesting until after Noam and Dara finally started talking. I loved Dara immediately. He’s precious and needs to be protected at all costs. I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen with him in the next book. I thought he was so complex and interesting. It was clear that there was more going on than was shown on the page and I loved learning his secrets.
Noam annoyed me a little because it was so clear who was really the villain, but also I could see things from his perspective and why he felt the way he did. I learned to love Noam and respect his choices. I’m very interested to see how things will play out with where this first book was concluded.
I really enjoyed the world-building of this futuristic America but I would have liked to see a bit more of it. We’re only told a bit about the different areas but I would have liked to actually see some of the other places.
Overall, I ended up really enjoying this book. It was a little slow in the beginning but definitely picked up as the story went along. I’m definitely excited to see what is going to happen in book two, which I will be picking up in the next few days as I’m lucky enough to get an ARC.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

This Cruel Design by Emily Suvada

GoodReads Summary:
The nightmare of the outbreak is finally over, but Cat’s fight has only just begun.
Exhausted, wounded, and reeling from revelations that have shaken her to her core, Cat is at a breaking point. Camped in the woods with Cole and Leoben, she’s working day and night, desperate to find a way to stop Lachlan’s plan to reprogram humanity. But she’s failing—Cat can’t even control her newly regrown panel, and try as she might to ignore them, she keeps seeing glitching visions from her past everywhere she turns.
When news arrives that the Hydra virus might not be as dead as they’d thought, the group is pushed into an uneasy alliance with Cartaxus to hunt down Lachlan and fix the vaccine. Their search takes them to Entropia, a city of genehackers hidden deep in the desert that could also hold the answers about Cat’s past that she’s been searching for.
But when confronted with lies and betrayals, Cat is forced to question everything she knows and everyone she trusts. And while Lachlan is always two steps ahead, the biggest threat to Cat may be the secrets buried in her own mind.
This Cruel Design (This Mortal Coil, #2)Review:
I’m going to keep this review on the shorter side because I still have a lot of the same thoughts as I did for my review of the first book, This Mortal Coil (reviewed here).
In that review, I essentially said that I really liked the science parts of this book because they were in-depth, but also not so much so that I didn’t understand what the characters were talking about. It was explained really well in relation to the story and the world within that story.
I think Cat was even more interesting in This Cruel Design than she was in the first book. We’ve learned some secrets about her past and those secrets have rocked the foundation of Cat’s world. Most of what she thought she knew about herself and her life was a lie. But we learn even more about her and her parentage in this book. I think the complexity of Cat’s character and the issues she was facing made this book fascinating beyond the greater plotlines.
I sort of liked that the romance took place on the backburner. I really liked Cat and Cole together in the first book, but Cole’s actions have become a bit suspect and I’m not loving him like I did previously. Because of all of this, I’m really glad that the romance wasn’t the main focus of the book. Though, there was another love triangle in this one. In the first book there was a sort of love triangle between Cat, Dax, and Cole. And in this second book, a new character is introduced and he is a part of Cat’s missing memories. I didn’t love this until more twists were revealed and we learned certain things.
I’m extremely interested to see how book three is going to conclude all the happenings in this world. There is so much to cover and I’m dying to know how it’s all going to come to an end.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Girls With Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

GoodReads Summary:
The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school offers an array of studies and activities, from “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.” The girls learn to be the best society has to offer. Absent is the difficult math coursework, or the unnecessary sciences or current events. They are obedient young ladies, free from arrogance or defiance. Until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears.
As Mena and her friends begin to uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations will find out what they are truly capable of. Because some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.
Girls with Sharp Sticks (Girls with Sharp Sticks, #1)Review:
Girls with Sharp Sticks straight up pissed me off. It was to the point where I almost DNF’d it, but after talking to a friend, she told me the things that I hated got better. So, I continued on. I’m glad I did because this book was a wild ride.
The thing I hated about this book was the views that the girls are trained to believe. Girls are meant to be obedient and serve men is what it essentially boils down to and boy did that make me mad. But things get so good when Mena starts to realize that something isn’t right at the academy. She starts to realize that something more was going on than the girls knew. This was when things got really interesting.
I wanted to know more about the rest of the world. It seemed like this story is supposed to take place in a near-future where the rest of the world is going on how it is now, but some are taking things to extremes with these girls.
Overall, I don’t want to say too much because most of the things I liked are spoilers. So, I’m going to keep this review on the shorter side. This book made me really mad, but by the end of the story, all of the things that angered me were challenged. There were twists and turns, and mysteries that I never could have expected. I have an ARC of the second book and I’m dying to get into it right away.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

GoodReads Summary:
When Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, and Naomi, a science genius from California, are two of the twenty-four teens drafted into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever altered. After erratic climate change has made Earth a dangerous place to live, the fate of the population rests on the shoulders of the final six who will be scouting a new planet. Intense training, global scrutiny, and cutthroat opponents are only a few of the hurdles the contestants must endure in this competition.
For Leo, the prospect of traveling to Europa—Jupiter’s moon—to help resettle humankind is just the sense of purpose he’s been yearning for since losing his entire family in the flooding of Rome. Naomi, after learning of a similar space mission that mysteriously failed, suspects the ISTC isn’t being up front with them about what’s at risk.
As the race to the final six advances, the tests get more challenging—even deadly. With pressure mounting, Naomi finds an unexpected friend in Leo, and the two grow closer with each mind-boggling experience they encounter. But it’s only when the finalists become fewer and their destinies grow nearer that the two can fathom the full weight of everything at stake: the world, the stars, and their lives.
The Final Six (The Final Six, #1)Review:
I picked this book up because Alexandra Monir is one of the author’s that I’d not heard of until the lineup of authors was released for the NoVaTeen Book Festival. I was really intrigued by the synopsis for this one, but part of me didn’t expect to love this as much as I did. I listened to the audiobook. And the one thing I will say about the audio is that it threw me that Leo was Italian, like born in Italy and lived there his entire life, but the narrator for him didn’t have an accent? It’s a small thing, and I quickly got over it. I liked both narrators, but also, they didn’t talk at the same speed, so listening on 1.5x speed Leo’s narration was perfect but Naomi was a little fast. Again, a small thing and I quickly got over it.
I really enjoyed this story. I liked that it was science-y, but not so much that there were constant explanations about the scientific things that were going on. It was explained well and not overly so. Too many science fiction novels are too filled with over explanations and big science words when it’s not needed. I loved this story’s version of ‘the end of the world’ via extreme natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis. I love dystopian and science fiction books that are mildly terrifying because of their potential to become our future. This was a great one. Twenty-four teens are selected from around the world to train and learn to maybe become a part of the final six that will be sent on a mission to terraform one of Jupiter’s moons that is habitable for humans.
Seeing the characters learn and train for this mission was interesting, but even more so was the contrast between Leo and Naomi. They’re two people that have connected when they otherwise wouldn’t have, all thanks to this program. Leo fiercely dedicated to doing his best and being a part of the final six, whereas Naomi is adamantly against the mission because she feels that those in charge of the space program are keeping secrets they shouldn’t be. I thought the fact that their relationship developed despite their very different views on the mission was really compelling, one always trying to sway the other.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Final Six and I am very excited to read the second book. The ending was killer in the sense of leaving the reader hanging. Many things were wrapped up but also left in a way so that the reader is excited about what is going to come next. I cannot wait for book two, and you lovely, have just enough time to read this book before its sequel comes out.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.