ARC Review: This Mortal Coil (This Mortal Coil #1) by Emily Suvada

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description

Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.

That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.

When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race.

Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself?

review****Huge thank you to Simon Pulse for approving me for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!****

Trigger Warning: Mild Gore & Graphic Description of Medical Procedures

This was a pretty good book, definitely creative and fast paced! It held my attention and made me curious about the sequel, but overall it wasn’t anything that blew me completely away.

PLOT

“This Mortal Coil” started out pretty strong with action right off the bat, we are also provided with a good amount of backstory/world building as well but it never felt like info-dumping which was great. It’s also very much a survival story as mentioned in the synopsis humanity has been brought to its knees due to the deadly plague that has spread across the Earth, and the main character Catarina does anything she can to survive on the surface and is also recruited to help find a cure. I liked the details on the virus that were provided I thought it was a pretty unique plague too, if it wasn’t too weird to think a plague was cool I would think this one was cool. I don’t won’t to spoil anything though!

I really enjoyed all of the science and genetics aspects that were included as well, and it was all very believable there wasn’t anything I felt that was too over the top or unrealistic. Normally things such as DNA and the gene-hacking that people did would fly over my head or be boring but it was actually pretty interesting! I also loved that certain aspects of the story felt very “X-Men” and “Resident Evil”, which of course are two franchises I adore so there’s that but I won’t spoil anything by going into too much detail!

The pacing was pretty fast throughout the entire book and things were in a constant state of tension for the most part, it really kept me on the edge of my seat! There were also more than a few completely mind blowing twists, I almost couldn’t keep up! However, there was one twist that kind of confused me and seemed a little….far fetched but it took me by surprise nonetheless. Also even though I thought the pacing was fast it still felt like the book was too long and it felt like it was taking me forever to finish. I think if the book could have been maybe between 50-100 pages shorter it would have been better.

Another thing that I liked was that the world and characters were morally grey, everyone does what they have to do in order to survive. It made things very exciting because you never knew what to expect!

characters

The characters were alright, I didn’t feel overly invested in any of them though. They weren’t overly complex or developed but they were interesting enough to keep me reading.

I felt that Catarina was a bit of a Special Snowflake at times because she was this “brilliant prodigy” and was the “only one who can figure out a cure” so that got kind of old but in general she was an alright protagonist.

As for the other side characters I enjoyed them but as I said I just wasn’t overly attached. Don’t get me wrong, I had moments where I was concerned about their well being but overall “meh”.

romance

The romance got a little too intricate for me since Cat is in love with Dax and Cole is in love with Jun Bei and they’re all sort of in relationships but there wasn’t ever any affirmation, if that makes sense. Then Cat and Cole start to develop feelings for each other but then still have feelings for their other significant others/crushes. What? Why? Sorry, but I would have preferred if you’d ended the other crushes and then initiated the Cat/Cole romance because that just feels like emotional cheating?

Yeah, I was over the love square and got pretty tired of keeping track of everything. I also don’t like when plots start to focus heavily on the romances either, which it felt like it did the more the story proceeded.

in conclusion

Overall I did enjoy this book, did it blow me away though? Not really. I find myself pretty in the middle as far as the rating and feelings go.

What I Loved:

  • Interesting World Building (No info-dumping)
  • Fast pacing, lots of action
  • Science!
  • Morally grey ambiguous characters
  • Plenty of plot twists

What I Didn’t Love:

  • Felt too long, could have been shorter
  • Dragged on in spots
  • Characters were kind of “meh”
  • Romance was overly complicated and also “meh”

RECOMMEND

I definitely recommend checking this one out if you enjoy books with a little more science in them and also just plague/dystopian type novels in general.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository

The Sassy

ARC Review: Blood, Ink, & Fire by Ashley Mansour

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description

Imagine a world without books…
In the future, books are a distant memory. The written word has been replaced by an ever-present stream of images known as Verity. In the controlling dominion of the United Vales of Fell, reading is obsolete and forbidden, and readers themselves do not—cannot—exist.
But where others see images in the stream, teenager Noelle Hartley sees words. She’s obsessed with what they mean, where they came from, and why they found her.

Noelle’s been keeping her dangerous fixation with words a secret, but on the night before her seventeenth birthday, a rare interruption in the stream leads her to a mysterious volume linked to an underworld of rebel book lovers known as the Nine of the Rising. With the help of the Risers and the beguiling boy Ledger, Noelle discovers that the words within her are precious clues to the books of the earlier time—and as a child of their bookless age, she might be the world’s last hope of bringing them back.

review

***Thank You To Netgalley & Upturn Publishing For Giving Me This ARC In Exchange For An Honest Review***

So I’m just going to get this off of my chest right away: this book was pretty awful. I hated it and while I was reading it I wanted to just DNF it.

I skimmed the last 20% of the book because I was so bored, but I told myself I’d rather skim than not know how it ends at all.

Without further ado let’s begin this review.

PLOT

One of the best things about this book was the premise, a world without books. Sounds awesome right? That was honestly the only interesting part about the entire book, the setting. This is a dystopian setting where there are no longer books or any form of the written word and no reading. Period. That’s what kept me reading, but that’s the only reason I kept reading.

Right when the story begins you’re thrust into this world state without having anything explained at all. It’s really frustrating right away since all of these terms and futuristic items are forced on me and I have no idea what they are!

Then things finally start getting explained a little which is great, right? Wrong, stuff did get explained but it was just a ton of info-dumping. I felt like I was drowning in a sea of information, so it really didn’t help. I still had to figure most things out on my own, which is frustrating.

The plot also progresses at a very weird pacing, it would drag on terribly during some parts but then all of a sudden it got way too rushed! I had to look back a few pages just to see if I was reading it correctly!

For example: The main character and her “group” would take several chapters to reach a certain city/town but then when somebody in the group gets hurt they magically transport themselves all they way back to where they STARTED in just a sentence or two.

How convenient is that? That was another problem with the book that I had, how conveniently things would happen to advance the plot. Like “Oh we got thrown into a dungeon but hey the guy we needed to talk to is down here too with the item we’ve been looking for!” How convenient for you. It was completely unrealistic, if you want to convince me that the plot points  happening are legit then you need to do a better job of making it believable.

And that ending! It made no sense and was confusing as hell. Seriously my brain doesn’t comprehend that ending at all. Is there going to be a sequel? Is this a stand alone and that was truly the end? Who knows? Not me apparently.

Then there’s that dreadful romance. I’m not a big fan of romances in books but if they’re done right I will like or even love them. This is a prime example of how to make me hate a book romance. One word: Insta-love. There was so much insta-love in this book it made me want to gag.

Except these are people and not dogs so it wasn’t cute, just extremely annoying. That picture sums it up perfectly too. I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes whenever a “romantic scene” came up, it made me want to hurl my Kindle across the room. There’s just no way I’m going to believe that they will die for each other after a day, no way.

characters

Where do I even start with these characters? I didn’t like any of them really, at all. Every single character lacked depth and they were very flat and uninteresting. I felt like they were made out of cardboard. To me, reading their dialogue was like hearing robots talk to each other. I didn’t feel anything towards them.

Not to mention how wishy-washy they were. One minute they’re all brave and loyal and the next they’re crying and whining. They were incredibly inconsistent.

Noelle Hartley is our main character and I haven’t a single good thing to say about her. She’s not only a special snowflake but she’s also extremely selfish. She was willing to give up the things necessary to save her world (country? planet? I don’t know what it actually is because it was never explained!) to save her loved ones. That’s selfish! Yes you love your family/friends but you didn’t even think about the thousands of other people that will suffer because of your poor choices!

I also feel like every other character’s intelligence was lowered in order to make Noelle seem smarter. I will provide the best example I can think of.

This Example Will Be Two Parts:

Part 1

“Eight from the ground, six from the corner. Listen to me very carefully,” Goodfellow whispers. “After they come for me, retrieve the book from behind the cylinder block. Eight and six. Remember eight and six.”

Which then leads to this.

Part 2

“Eight and six,” Ros says. “What do you think he meant?”

“The bricks,” I say. “We need to hurry.” I count from the corner where I found the matches. “Eight up and six across.”

I thought that it was blatantly obvious that Goodfellow was referring to the bricks, but apparently not. See how Ros has to ask what he meant even though it’s so clear, just so Noelle could be “so smart” and figure it out? Yeah, that annoyed me a lot.

Then as I said she’s a special snowflake. If Noelle doesn’t save the world then apparently no one can or will. If I had to rely on this girl to save me I’d just pack it in right then and there because there’s no way that’s happening!

Then there’s Ledger. He is never explained, I STILL don’t know who or what the heck he is! He’s just there to once again be a convenient plot progressor! He’s a major character and I didn’t understand him at all, if that’s not frustrating I don’t know what is.

in conclusion

I really just thought this whole book was a mess, the blurb and idea of the plot was interesting enough but everything else was very disappointing. I struggled to finish this and I honestly don’t know why I even bothered to since the ending was so confusing.

RECOMMEND

No, not at all. I can’t see myself recommending this to anyone for any reasons. Period.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy

Book Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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description

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee — whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not — stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden — a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

review

“The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.”

Wow, this has got to be one of the best books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Seriously, everything about it was perfection. It was heart wrenching, beautiful, adventurous, thought-provoking, and original. Everything about it was SO ORIGINAL, I’ve never read anything like it before. I also don’t think I’ve ever felt this emotional about a book ever, or at least not in a very long time.

Reasons Why You Should Read “The Knife of Never Letting Go”:

  1. It’s fast paced with plenty of action, adventure, and heart-break. It’ll keep you reading and on the edge of your seat begging to know what happens next.
  2. The world building is extraordinary it’s original and unique and there’s always new things being learned even when you thought you knew everything.
  3. Every single character you meet is complex and full of personality, you will fall in love with them. Even the ones you hate, you’ll love to hate them.
  4. There’s no romance! I don’t know about you but that’s fantastic for a YA book! That means no insta-love or love triangles!

PLOT

Trust me when I tell you that you’ll have a hard time getting bored with this book, it never has a dull moment. I hated to even put the book down at all!

There’s quite a bit of traveling in the story and usually ,for me, that equals slow pacing or a boring book overall. That was not the case with “The Knife of Never Letting Go”. There’s always something happening during their travels that’s interesting whether it’s a sort of chase scene, meeting a new character, or unveiling secrets. No slow pacing here which is awesome for an almost 500 page book, could you imagine reading that many pages and getting BORED? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

The world-building Ness did with this book was simply amazing, practically nothing was left to the imagination! There were no info-dumps either, you gradually learned about the world throughout the course of the book. Not to mention how original and creative the world Ness built is. People hearing each others thoughts, animals talking, native aliens, and space ships. All of which are explained in extraordinary detail, it was fascinating to learn about.

Now to the actual plot, you will be frustrated A LOT and yes that is a good thing. It means you actually care enough about what’s happening to get frustrated! Yay! Don’t let all of the action I mentioned earlier deceive you though, this book will test you emotionally and it will rip your heart out and stomp all over it. There’s much more to this book than meets the eye, you will feel absolutely moved by the time you reach the last pages. I guarantee it.

Another point I’d like to make is that every thing that occurs in “The Knife of Never Letting Go” and every choice Todd has to make is never easy. Never. Nothing about this book is easy and none of it is black and white. Everything exists in a moral gray area. Which if you ask me just makes the book that much more interesting and that much more unpredictable.

Seriously, I dare you to try and predict anything that happens in this book.

This book was utterly flawless, I don’t have one single complaint about anything in it. However, there are two things that I’ll discuss that may bother you or other readers.

Todd’s slangy speech. This didn’t bother me any while I read but it might bother you, Todd’s speech in the book is lots of slang and mispronounced words. Here’s a quote that demonstrates this:

“That’s the thing I’m learning about being thrown out on yer own. Nobody does nothing for you. If you don’t change it, it don’t get changed.”

See what I mean? He also pronounces the word creatures as creachers and so on.

The second thing about this book that may bother you is that it ends on a big cliffhanger that demands you pick up the next installment right away. Cliffhangers don’t really bother me any, I’ll either pick up the next book or I won’t, but you’ve been warned now.

characters

First off let me tell you that every single character you meet will make an impression on you. Everyone in this story is more than meets the eye, and practically everyone is well developed. Random people you meet on the road? You’re damn right they’re developed characters. I felt that I really KNEW every person Todd came across in his journey.

If that’s not great character writing I don’t know what is!

Our main protagonist is Todd (which I keep accidentally typing as Tood, how embarrassing) who is probably one of the most deep, complex, and well developed protagonists I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about. He’s a fantastic narrator, and not only that but he’s an incredibly real and relatable character.

(Yes I just made a meme to use to make my point)

We get to watch Todd grow as a person throughout the course of this book, and it’s enough to make you feel almost proud of him.

Viola is the other main character in this book and I loved her as well. She’s strong, smart, loyal, and very capable. Pretty much everything I love in a heroine!

Then we have Manchee, Todd’s dog. Holy crap is he ever the greatest dog in any book I’ve ever read. He talks! And he talks EXACTLY how I imagine real dogs would talk.

“The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say.
About anything.
“Need a poo, Todd.”
“Shutup, Manchee.”
“Poo. Poo, Todd.”
“I said shut it.”

If dogs ever talk while I’m alive and they don’t talk like this, I’m going to be so disappointed. Manchee is as loyal a friend to Todd as anyone, and he’s actually very smart. He helps Todd throughout his journey more than anyone I think. Manchee just warms my heart, he’s basically Doug from the movie “Up”. If you think I’m lying go read the book and you’ll agree with me. I’m patient….I can wait.

Other Things I Have To Say:

There’s no romance in this story, which always merits points from me. Sorry, I’m just not a romance fan. There’s no love triangles or insta-love or any of that. Nope, this book has something better. Bonds and the kind of love we feel towards friends or family, not romantic love. That’s the kind of love that’s in this book and you’ll feel it too.

in conclusion

“The Knife of Never Letting Go” is a very emotional book that will succeed at completely immersing you into its story. I just wish I could properly explain how wonderfully beautiful this book truly is and writing this review was very difficult. How do you write a review for such perfection? I hope I did OK.

RECOMMEND

Yes! A million times yes! This book makes all of my other 4-5 Star ratings seem like 2’s!

Although I’d say if you’re NOT a fan of crying or getting super emotionally attached to characters then skip this one. You will cry. That’s the only reason I have to not recommend this though.

So hurry up and read this dang book that I love! Then we can all sit and cry together! I mean discuss this great book together!

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

 The Sassy

Book Review: The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

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description

Greta is a duchess and crown princess—and a hostage to peace. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Go to war and your hostage dies.
Greta will be free if she can survive until her eighteenth birthday. Until then she lives in the Precepture school with the daughters and sons of the world’s leaders. Like them, she is taught to obey the machines that control their lives. Like them, she is prepared to die with dignity, if she must. But everything changes when a new hostage arrives. Elián is a boy who refuses to play by the rules, a boy who defies everything Greta has ever been taught. And he opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the system they live under—and to her own power.
As Greta and Elián watch their nations tip closer to war, Greta becomes a target in a new kind of game. A game that will end up killing them both—unless she can find a way to break all the rules.


review

“No, blowing up cities doesn’t work, not in the long term. You’ve got to find something that the people in charge aren’t willing to give up. A price they aren’t willing to pay.

Which leads us to Talis’s first rule of stopping wars: make it personal.

And that, my dear children – that is where you come in.”

This book is very exciting, nerve racking, and ultimately a little heartbreaking. So in other words I freaking loved it.

The story was very original everything about it was one of a kind, there are no annoying, common YA tropes in this book! Which is probably why it appealed to me so much.

Insta-love? Nope.

Love Triangles? Yes and at the same time definitely no. You’ll see why.

Mary Sues or Gary Stus? Nope.

See? So already we’re set up for a great YA dystopian novel.

The world building was excellent, we’re introduced to such an unique worldstate. Humans (and the Earth for that matter) are under the “control” of an AI, Talis, who basically blackmails them with their own children to keep the peace. Let’s just say this book is very….gritty. Oh man, will it break your heart too. It broke my heart, I have all these feelings I don’t know what to do with now.

The pacing may get a little bit slow sometimes but it wasn’t super noticeable to me, although I can see it annoying some other readers.  I was too wrapped up in the events of the book to let the pacing get me down though.

And that ENDING, I don’t even know what to say or do about that ending! I basically NEED the next book NOW. I just want to understand!

The writing though wasn’t particularly good, it was kind of bland and boring. It got the job done is what it did. Which is a reason why other people probably haven’t enjoyed this book as immensely as I have.

Really, though,  the best part of the book BESIDES the awesome world building, were the characters.

 The characters in “The Scorpion Rules” are very strong and complex such as: Greta, Xie, Elian, Talis, and the Abbot. Everyone else is basically a secondary character and they all fell really flat for me, very uninteresting and unimportant.

  Our MC Greta is very dutiful, strong, and smart. She is a very perfect heroine for the situation she has been put in, and her best friend Xie is the same way. Overall I agree with all of the actions and choices Greta makes throughout the book.

Xie is always standing up for what she believes is appropriate or right, nobody messes with her.

Elian is a loose cannon, he does everything his way and he brings pretty much ALL the adventure in the first half of the book.

Then we have an AI character called the Abbot. The Abbot runs the Precepture where the children are kept, and he’s just…very wise. He plays a pretty vital role in the story.

Then there’s Talis. Oh how I LOVED Talis. He’s the AI that “took over the world” and he is hilarious. Talis is my absolute favorite character, is that bad? Rooting for the city-destroying, world enslaving AI? I don’t care I still love him. I basically picture him as this:

Yep that’s definitely Talis using his orbital weapons on the Earth. That’s probably why I like him so much, because I was picturing him as Chris Pine…..hmmm.

Also the romance in the book was very subtle and yet still very important, I actually really liked it. This is coming from a person who could do without side romances completely. Now remember when I said there was no love triangle? There isn’t..but there is. There really isn’t any way to explain it without spoilers sooooooo. But I will tell you it’s a bisexual romance.


All in all “The Scorpion Rules” may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it IS my cup of tea. I pretty much loved everything about it and I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a really unique dystopian YA novel.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon