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.