Book Review: The Guardians by T. M. Franklin

the guardians

 

The Guardians (More #2) by T. M. Franklin

Read my 5 star review of More (book #1)

Genre: YA Paranormal

Publisher: Self Published –  The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House

Pages: 255

Published: November 7th, 2013

Links: Amazon |  Goodreads  |  Barnes & Noble

Author Links:  Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

It’s not every day a girl discovers she’s not entirely human and unlocks hidden powers strong enough to make even the First Race take notice. Then again, Ava Michaels is no ordinary girl.

Now, the Race’s Ruling Council wants her under their control, and that’s just the beginning of her problems. Her boyfriend, Caleb Foster, has disappeared—accused of betraying the Race—and Ava herself is implicated in a crime she didn’t commit.

Clearing their names will mean uncovering a web of deceit and intrigue with Ava woven right in the center. To unravel the strands, she joins forces with some unlikely allies; a Protector who once haunted her nightmares, a young girl with secrets as unexpected as Ava’s, and a group of rebel Guardians who have their own fight against the Council.

Together they stand in a battle to find the truth, bring Caleb home, and secure Ava’s freedom—not to mention save her life.

THE GUARDIANS felt like a gutted version of the first book.  The beginning is extremely confusing unless you’ve recently read MORE.  There’s not even enough clues scattered in the novel to piece together the basic plot of the first book.  Bottom line, if you want to read THE GUARDIANS, read MORE first.  If you read MORE awhile ago, then reread it.  Otherwise, don’t bother trying to figure out what’s going on.

It’s an easy read that focuses on the plot.  The characters, setting, and everything else just seems less than what was in the first book.  It was okay, but there wasn’t a single time that I loved what was said or what happened.  The book didn’t spark any emotions.  It wasn’t boring though.

Caleb goes through a personality adjustment for plot reasons and I was sad to see the shift.  The chemistry between them is missing and there’s no sizzle between Ava and the other characters, even in friendship.

By the end, Ava’s abilities do get stupidly ridiculous.  The twists border on predictable.  I also thought that Tiernan was too easily swayed by Ava, especially considering the consequences of his actions.

THE GUARDIANS is a good self-published book.  It’s a good sequel for fans of MORE.  But, it won’t attract any new readers.  It felt too ‘safe’.  I won’t be continuing the series.

D rating plus rating  

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)

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Book Review: Memories with Maya by Clyde Dsouza

memories with maya

 

Memories with Maya by Cylde Dsouza

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Self-published

Pages: 216

Published: March 16, 2013

Links: Amazon |  Goodreads

A story of one man’s determination to HACK his destiny, even if it meant challenging Divine Providence…

The story looks at how augmentation technology will affect emotions, intimate human relationships, and our very evolution as a species.

“EMOTIONS ARE LIKE A VIRUS, a common cold…disrupting the flow of logic in the mind.” Daniel reminds himself.

Dan’s work involves creating commercially viable AR solutions. The recession and an explosion of data-cops is drying out his streams of income.
He turns to close friend, Krish, a researcher in Artificial Intelligence, in the hope that they can come up with ideas for the Entertainment market. His girlfriend, Maya, and her family return to their homeland after her father passes away.

Dan and Maya continue their relationship via Dirrogates (Digital Surrogates), experiencing human touch through haptics. Krish gets a job at the prestigious A.I.R.I. Using AIRI’s lab, Krish and Dan, create an advanced visor with Augmented Intelligence built in.
They dub it “Wizer”.
A Board member at AIRI sees potential in the Wizer other than what Dan and Krish have in mind.

At a test in a nightclub, things go wrong…

The most interesting part of MEMORIES WITH MAYA was the science.  It’s like I was watching a movie and the highlight of the movie was when the characters in the movie watched a completely different movie.  The thrilling part of this novel encompasses exactly one scene.  Everything up to this scene involved a very anti-commitment guy.  Everything after this scene involved a character who couldn’t let go.

Dan is such an asshole in the beginning of the story that I had no sympathy for him later on.  I liked the parts where he explained how his new invention worked.  I couldn’t relate to any other character, especially since Dan had anti-social tendencies and didn’t let people get close to him.

I decided not to DNF around 70% and force myself page by page, since I was almost done with the book.  If I had known in the first couple chapters that almost NOTHING would happen for the entire span of a book, then I would have DNF it once I found out that Dan was an asshole.  I had high hopes for this sci-fi, since the premise sounds entertaining.  It’s unfortunate that this would have made a better documentary special on Discovery.  Somehow, the author managed to make even virtual reality sex scenes boring.

F rating

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)

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Book Review: Inhuman by Kat Falls

inhuman

 

Inhuman by Kat Falls

Genre: Dystopian

Publisher: Scholastic

Pages: 384

Published: September 24th, 2013

Links: Amazon |  Goodreads  |  Barnes & Noble

Author Links:  Goodreads  |  Website

In a world ravaged by mutation, a teenage girl must travel into the forbidden Savage Zone to recover lost artifacts or her father’s life is forfeit.

America has been ravaged by a war that has left the eastern half of the country riddled with mutation. Many of the people there exhibit varying degrees of animal traits. Even the plantlife has gone feral.

Crossing from west to east is supposed to be forbidden, but sometimes it’s necessary. Some enter the Savage Zone to provide humanitarian relief. Sixteen-year-old Lane’s father goes there to retrieve lost artifacts—he is a Fetch. It’s a dangerous life, but rewarding—until he’s caught.

Desperate to save her father, Lane agrees to complete his latest job. That means leaving behind her life of comfort and risking life and limb—and her very DNA—in the Savage Zone. But she’s not alone. In order to complete her objective, Lane strikes a deal with handsome, roguish Rafe. In exchange for his help as a guide, Lane is supposed to sneak him back west. But though Rafe doesn’t exhibit any signs of “manimal” mutation, he’s hardly civilized . . . and he may not be trustworthy.

An entertaining dystopian world but a less than believable heroine gives me mixed feelings  about INHUMAN.  Lane has lived her entire life on the safe side of the wall.  She’s heard only rumors about the feral world on the other side.  When confronted about her father’s illegal activities, Lane accepts everything told to her at face value.  She’s apparently been subconsciously  primed for a mission to the other side of the wall as all the fairytale stories her father told her as a child come true.

It seems that I have more trouble adjusting to this hidden wealth of information  that Lane has then she, herself, does.  She also apparently has taken every self-defense and wilderness training possible.  I just can’t fathom how Lane could be that prepared for a trip across the wall and NOT have even a little clue that her father was involved in illegal activity before she’s shown proof.

She is naïve to a fault and stumbles into very sketchy situations because her trust is easily given.  Of course, this also means that since she’s partnered with two other males that a love triangle forms.  It doesn’t matter that one of these guys is a clear ASSHOLE and the other one breaks a half-dozen military rules just to be her prince charming.  There’s a clear winner in this love triangle, yet…as usual…the girl is too dumb to tell one of them to fuck off.

The plot progresses like a drunk man, which is rather entertaining to watch.  The end goal is clear, but the characters get sidetracked easily.  It’s funny how much Lane unintentionally sabotages their progress chapter after chapter.  The lack of cohesiveness between Lane and her two male partners is probably my favorite part of the novel.  They’re so different from each other.  They have different goals by the end of the book and at times those goals directly interfere with what Lane wants to do.

Then there’s the ending location that makes me want to watch CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG again.  Substitute kids for [spoiler] and it’s the same damn premise.  The bad guys here are so over the top that it’s silly.  I was actually shocked how quickly the story reverted back to a serious tone…maybe the whole court scene wasn’t suppose to be funny.  My bad.

Not too long after this happens, the book ends.  Yup, cliffhanger.  You have been warned.

rating Cminus rating 

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)

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Day 3 – The books of 2013 I am sad I missed

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{Day 3} THE BOOKS OF 2013 I AM SAD I MISSED

Although there were quite a few books released in 2013 that I’m sorry that I didn’t get the chance to read, there are only a couple that nag at my conscious for not reading.

crewelbetween the devil and the deep blue sea insurgent

 

Crewel by Jennifer Albin - I was so happy when I was approved for this book on Netgalley, but somehow I forgot to download it to my Kindle before it archived.  

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke – I was so psyched to read this book.  I can’t remember if I preordered it or won it in a giveaway soon after release.  Either way, it’s been sitting on my bookshelf unread.  I have no excuse for not reading this one.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth – I absolutely loved Divergent.  I recommended it to friends and even let one of them borrow my copy.  I wanted to put up a review of Divergent before I read Insurgent and laziness/procrastination of writing the review meant that I never got around to reading the sequel.

 

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Book Review: Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman

skyjumpers

 

Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman

Genre: MG Adventure, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books

Pages: 288

Published: September 24th, 2013

Links: Amazon |  Goodreads  |  Barnes & Noble

Author Links:  Goodreads  |  Website  |  Twitter

What happens when you can’t do the one thing that matters most?

12-year-old Hope lives in White Rock, a town struggling to recover from the green bombs of World War III. The bombs destroyed almost everything that came before, so the skill that matters most in White Rock—sometimes it feels like the only thing that matters—is the ability to invent so that the world can regain some of what it’s lost.

But Hope is terrible at inventing and would much rather sneak off to cliff dive into the Bomb’s Breath—the deadly band of air that covers the crater the town lives in—than fail at yet another invention.

When bandits discover that White Rock has invented priceless antibiotics, they invade. The town must choose whether to hand over the medicine and die from disease in the coming months or to die fighting the bandits now. Hope and her friends, Aaren and Brock, might be the only ones who can escape through the Bomb’s Breath and make the dangerous trek over the snow-covered mountain to get help.

For once, inventing isn’t the answer, but the daring and risk-taking that usually gets Hope into trouble might just save them all.

Set in a world where the bombs did go off, SKY JUMPERS is a post-apocalyptic adventure at the end of WWIII.  The toxic air left over from green bombs (known as Bomb’s Breath) acts as both a safety net from intruders and a death trap for villagers who get careless.  Isolated for the majority of the year, the town has learned to advance itself through inventions, although its fear of the unknown often limits itself.

Hope is an easy character for MG readers to identify with.  Sometimes her best isn’t enough to succeed.  Her achilles heel is inventing, which unfortunately is the main emphasis in her schooling.  Hope is shamed when yet another invention of hers fails and she is disqualified from the Harvest Festival.  Her feelings are raw and her pain real.  She wants to be useful, yet she doesn’t know how.  To keep her mind off of things, she turns to sky diving.  She’s so fearless that she risked exposure with the Bomb’s Breath to test her theory that it would cushion her fall, no matter how high the jump.

It’s a pleasant switch to have the female MC exhibit qualities usually reserved for male characters.  She’s headstrong, fearless, and adventurous.  She’s more willing to test theories than come up with them.  Her best friend, Aaren, is calmer and very nurturing towards his family.  It bothers me when adults are rendered stupid just to give the children a chance to shine.  In SKY JUMPERS, there is a very plausible reason (which I won’t spoil) that makes the children the only ones to embark on the adventure to save the town.

I wish that SKY JUMPERS had a less linear plot.  Although the characters and setting were unique, it lost its flavor when the actual adventure began.  I’m sure that MG readers will love the easy read and clear goals of the characters, but I wanted a little more.  The second half of the book was well-written and predictable, though the ending had a few parts that weren’t crystal clear (with the Bomb’s Breath).

I was surprised to learn that SKY JUMPERS is the beginning of a series, since it is quite capable of being a standalone book.  Great characters and setting will make this quick read a hit for MG readers.

B rating minus rating

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)

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