Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (340)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: This Mortal Coil
Author: Emily Suvada
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster imprint)

From Goodreads:

In this gripping debut novel, seventeen-year-old Cat must use her gene-hacking skills to decode her late father’s message concealing a vaccine to a horrifying plague.

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?

I like the cover, the red dust explosion and the title's implications of mortality. I get the feeling that people are going to die in this book.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Me on The Gallery of Unfinished Girls

Title: The Gallery of Unfinished Girls
Author: Lauren Karcz
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins imprint)

Mercedes Moreno is an artist. At least, she thinks she could be, even though she hasn't been able to paint anything worthwhile in the past year. Her lack of inspiration might be because her abuela is in a coma. Or the fact that Mercedes is in love with her best friend, Victoria, but is too afraid to admit her true feelings. Despite Mercedes's creative block, art starts to show up in unexpected ways. A piano appears on her front lawn one morning, and a mysterious new neighbor invites Mercedes to paint with her at the abandoned Red Mangrove Estate. At the Estate, Mercedes can create in ways she hasn't ever before. But Mercedes can't take anything out of the Estate, including her new-found clarity. Mercedes can't live both lives forever, and ultimately she must choose between this perfect world of art and truth and a much messier reality.

The Gallery of Unfinished Girls is an exploration, a look at how far we go and the people we meet on journeys of self-discovery. It's a look at creativity, what drives us and what happens when we lose that drive, the passion and the joy and the sense of loss.

Mercedes is bright and creative, an artist to the core, but not right now. Inspiration has left her, leading to her being afraid that she'll never paint anything worthwhile again. Maybe it's because she has a lot weighing her down right now. Like how her abuela is in a coma in San Juan and the doctors aren't sure if she'll ever wake up. Like how she has no idea where she'll be going to college in the fall. Like how she's in love with her best friend Victoria but is scared to tell her, scared she'll ruin their friendship. Until her new neighbour takes her to the Estate. Until Mercedes finally feels free enough to paint.

So much of this book is about Mercedes figuring herself out, what she wants and how she sees the world. What she wants to express of herself in her art, how much of herself that she's willing to express, to show to other people. She keeps her affection secret from Victoria and it settles in her, like a hard lump in her chest, leaving her unable to express herself. It's the holding in of all these worries that blocks her, and only at the Estate, where anything is possible, does she feel free. All Mercedes has to do is take that impossibly hard first step and say out loud what she's feeling, but how can she when it's so hard, so impossible for her?

This book is honest and rough, nailing those end of high school uncertainties so well. What next? How can I tell someone the truth? What if I never paint again? What if she dies? What am I supposed to do? There's an honest vulnerability to Mercedes, her unsure feelings of the future and her hope that she can stagnate in the present. That she can be free to paint and creative and live at the Estate, even when a small part of her knows she can't. This is a book that's mysteriously magical, similar to AnnaMarie McLemore's books can be. If you're a fan of magical realism, books like McLemore's or Nova Ren Suma's, you might want to check this out.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (267)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

Still more summer! It's such a difference from the winter with the constant snow and the spring with the rain that I'm still soaking it all in.

I've been walking to the library this week, which is nice when it's sunny and the library isn't that far away. But it's slightly annoying when a hold comes in, I wait a little to go get it, then I get home to a message that another hold has come in.

Reviews going up this week will feature The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz (Tuesday) and Sovereign by April Daniels (Friday). :)
Bought/borrowed/received:
These Ruthless Deeds by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas (borrowed from the library)
Pyromantic by Lish McBride (borrowed from the library)
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (e-book borrowed from the library)

Friday, July 14, 2017

Me on Amid Stars and Darkness

Title: Amid Stars and Darkness
Author: Chani Lynn Feener
Release Date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads (Macmillan imprint)

Delaney's entire world is thrown into chaos after she is mistaken for Lissa Olena, an alien princess hiding out on Earth in order to escape an arranged marriage. Kidnapped by the princess's head bodyguard, Ruckus, and imprisoned in an alien palace, Delaney is forced to impersonate the princess until Olena can be found. If she fails, it will lead to an alien war and the eventual enslavement of the entire human race. No pressure or anything. Factor in Trystan, the princess's terrifying betrothed who is intent on unraveling all her secrets, and her own growing feelings for Ruckus, and Delaney is in way over her head.

Amid Stars and Darkness is full of danger, of secrets and lies. Caught up in intergalactic intrigue and assassination attempts, Delaney struggles to keep her wits about her and to not let anyone know who she really is.

Delaney is a victim to circumstance after happening across a stranger in a club and being a similar height and body shape. Because what happens next is Delaney is taken from Earth to an alien ship, somehow looking like and being treated like a runaway alien princess. She's annoyed, afraid, angry. She's a regular girl, just finished with high school. She's in no way ready or capable to deal with anything like this. I was impressed by her restraint. She doesn't hide the fact that she's furious that Olena put her in this position, that she's being forced to pretend to be Olena until they find her, that someone's trying to kill her. But she doesn't necessarily completely break down screaming. She's pissed while seeing that she has to go along with it so a massive war that could doom Earth won't break out.

There were some parts of this that were interesting, some moments with Delaney that showed she could be both angry and her situation and understanding of the seriousness, but for the most part it felt rather predictable. Considering the summary and the set up, the plot happened how I thought it would. Some characters stayed the same, consistently arrogant or foolish. Nothing really surprised me. I'd hoped for some more science fiction, some more exploration as opposed to aliens who mostly looked human and barely any exploration on the planet Delaney ends up on. In the end, this wasn't the book for me. That being said, I'm sure there are those who would enjoy this, those looking for more romance in their sci-fi.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (339)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: Last Star Burning
Author: Caitlin Sangster
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster imprint)

From Goodreads:

Sev is branded with the mark of a criminal—a star burned into her hand. That’s the penalty for being the daughter of the woman who betrayed their entire nation.

Now her mother’s body is displayed above Traitor’s Arch, kept in a paralyzed half sleep by the same plague that destroyed the rest of the world. And as further punishment, Sev is forced to do hard labor to prove that she’s more valuable alive than dead.

When the government blames Sev for a horrific bombing, she must escape the city or face the chopping block. Unimaginable dangers lurk outside the city walls, and Sev’s only hope of survival lies with the most unlikely person—Howl, the chairman’s son. Though he promises to lead her to safety, Howl has secrets, and Sev can’t help but wonder if he knows more about her past—and her mother’s crimes—than he lets on.

But in a hostile world, trust is a luxury. Even when Sev’s life and the lives of everyone she loves may hang in the balance.

Hmmmm. Interesting.