ARC Review: Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

29960675.jpgTitle: Mask of Shadows
Author: Linsey Miller
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQIA+
Expected Publication Date: September 5th, 2017
Rating: 3.75ish?

Synopsis: Perfect for fantasy fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, the first book in this new duology features a compelling gender fluid main character, impressive worldbuilding, and fast-paced action.

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class―and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand―the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears―Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

Please note that I received a free eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: I was really excited about Mask of Shadows as soon as I saw it being talked about on Twitter. I love the cover and as soon as I heard about the main character I immediately went over to Netgalley and requested it because how could I not? A genderfluid main character?? Yes please! I’m always a little weary about reading any books that hit kind of close to home for me. Especially when it comes to diversity in gender, sexuality, or orientation. I’ve had some bad luck (and some good) with books. I mean, most of the time when I read a diverse book, it’s of the contemporary genre and that’s definitely not my most favourite genre. So I had super high hopes for Mask of Shadows, I was finally going to get a character outside the gender norm.

But here I am thinking, I liked this? Parts of it were underwhelming and some parts I really liked. I almost never read a synopsis of a book, I know I know, that’s a little crazy but it’s true. I like the idea of going into a book with a completely open mind and a lot les expectations, you know? Which usually leads to a lot less disappointment most of the time. So I really feel like I’m on the fence about Mask of Shadow. Because I wasn’t disappointed in anyway but I’m not screaming about this book at the top of my lungs for everyone to read it either.

I thought for sure I would connect with Sallot fast but I realized quick that just because I’m non-binary doesn’t mean I feel the same way gender fluid people do. Now something I did love about have a gender fluid main character is that, Sallot being gender fluid had nothing to do or have any affect on the plot. Sure it was brought up here and there but it wasn’t any type of focal point and really, that’s how I like it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this book if you’ve read it!

ARC Review: Contribute by Kristy Acevedo

29502065.jpgTitle: Contribute (Holo #2)
Author: Kristy Acevedo
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Expected Publication Date: July 11th 2017
Rating:

Synopsis: The holograms lied to everyone on Earth and only Alexandra Lucas knows the truth. Now she’s trapped in the year 2359 without family or friends—worse, without her anxiety medication. Alex attempts to reconcile the marvelous scenery, technological advances, and luxurious living with the knowledge that the holograms weren’t being completely honest—what else are they lying about? With a secret that could shatter her society, Alex tries to find her place among strangers, convicts, and a rebellion striving to bring the holograms down. Alex struggles to find the best way to reveal the truth and reunite with those she loves. But when surrounded by beauty and every convenience, Alex wonders if truth becomes irrelevant in a perfect world.

Please note that I received a free eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: I really don’t know how to start this review, I have so many feelings about Contribute and pretty much none of them are bad. I mean, who doesn’t want to read about girl with anxiety running into an alien portal into the complete unknown to find her boyfriend and tell most of the human race the truth about what really happened back on Earth? I really kick myself for not writing a review the first book Consider. Because I definitely really liked the book and I couldn’t wait for it’s sequel. And Contribute I think, really blew Consider out of the water.

“Would you rather contribute to society or destroy it?”

I kept asking myself how would I decide? Would I contribute and live a life of luxury or would I fight against it? Could you imagine living in a world where everything is already provided for you? Amazing immersive technology, no violence, a sustainable environment, and never having to work another day in your life? It sounds amazing, and something that I wonder if I could walk away from or even fight again. But then again, despite all that easy living there’s always a catch.

“My your contribution lead to freedom”

Having an MC with an anxiety disorder definitely hits close to home. I’d really love to see more characters who struggle with anxiety on all different levels and coping techniques. And even though my anxiety is not on Alex’s level, it’s pretty close and I think that really helped me connect with her and her situation. Plus, it’s really cool to see someone with anxiety in a life altering setting and not become a character who knows what to do and who to become immediately.

“I must lose myself to save myself”

That quote alone just blew me away completely. As someone who struggles with asking “who am I?” and “who do I want to become?” and figuring out how to even become myself, this book was a journey not only for characters but for me as well. I just really loved Alex. I felt all of her anxiety, I sympathized with her every step and loved watching her grow and push and still be standing on her feet (kind of) leading the charge at the end. It honestly gave me hope, so much hope that despite all of my anxiety and my struggles, I can still be someone who is worth something. Heroes emerge from many places and Alex can stand with the best of them.

To touch on a few other great things about Contribute, can we talk about the slight romance in this book? I mean, she pretty much jumped through a portal to go after her boyfriend and yet, the romance was not the most important part of the book. Surprised? Me too, in a good way! There’s a time when Alex is trying to come to terms with leading a ‘rebellion’ for the right reasons when the only real reason she came through the portal was to find Dominick (and her best friend, Rita). I feel like this was one of most honest portrayals of a love story within a book of this setting. And let’s not forget that Contribute dropped some of the best plot twists I’ve read in awhile. I love that I didn’t see them coming either, those are the plot twists I live for when it comes to reading.

So please, do yourself a favour and check out these books!

ARC Review: In Ageless Sleep by Arden Ellis

34218098Title: In Ageless Sleep
Author: Arden Ellis
Genre: Science Fiction, LGBTQIA+, Romance
Publication Date: April 12th 2017
Rating

Synopsis: Mal is a spy, a misanthrope, and a coward; growing up in the brutal Reaches has taught her that honor is a quality best left to the dead. Her latest mission: to hijack a cryo-ship carrying the brilliant daughter of the Sovereign King, and deliver her straight into enemy hands.

But when a vital component of the ship’s cryostasis system malfunctions, the only person who can keep the unconscious passengers alive is the woman Mal was sent to kidnap. Alone together on a ship of silent sleepers, Mal must remember that she and Aurora are enemies—or risk them becoming something much more dangerous.

Please note that I received a free eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: What can I even say about this book? It has a beautiful cover which I really loved. It was a fairly short read compared to what I usually read. So I really felt like it lacked a lot of development in characters and even the plot. Which really lead me to feel like this story was more unbelievable with each page. There wasn’t a lot of ways to connect with the characters despite the female/female romance connection.

That all on its own was weird enough. I understand the whole enemies to lovers trope but I feel like that wasn’t what this was. I mean, Mal (the main character) was pretty much holding Aurora hostage the entire time? And being a creep by watching Aurora every time she was put back to sleep. Like??????? How is that not concerning? Maybe I’m just not into the whole enemies to lovers trope that much but still. I feel like there’s a line where it becomes too creep and just not right.

All of this was really disappoint because I mean it had so many elements of a story that I thought I would enjoy. But unfortunately it went down hill real fast. Now, the rest of the plot wasn’t terrible. I like that it was in space and epic space ship battles. That I definitely wanted more of. I feel like for me that the story would have been ugh more success if there was more of that and less of the ‘romance’.

Overall, super disappointing and probably wouldn’t recommend.

ARC Review: Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

30134847Title: Waking Gods (Themis Files #2)
Author: Sylvain Neuvel
Genre: Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Publication Date: April 4th, 2017
Rating

Synopsis: In the gripping sequel to Sleeping Giants, which was hailed by Pierce Brown as “a luminous conspiracy yarn . . . reminiscent of The Martian and World War Z,” Sylvain Neuvel’s innovative series about human-alien contact takes another giant step forward.

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.

Please note that I received a free eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Waking Gods was definitely one of my most anticipated sequels after reading Sleeping Giants (you can read my review for it here) last year. And I’m going to straight up honest with you, I think Waking Gods blew Sleeping Giants out of the water. It was intense and face-paced and you never knew what was about to happen. I’m not sure if this has to due with the fact that this book is not young adult or what, but I felt like Waking Gods pushed past limits I don’t see often in the books I’m reading. I loved every minute of it and I really really hope there is another book after this one because if there isn’t that would just be mean.

I think the characters were way more developed in this book, or maybe I just felt like I knew them better. And I know better than to get attached to characters, I’ve learned my lesson the hard way so many times and yet I became so attached and invested in these characters. I wanted to see them succeed, I wanted to see them help humanity thrive again and it was probably one of my favourite sets of character developments to watch. Of course, Sylvain Neuvel knew exactly every single heartstrings to pull and even still, he left me wanting so much more from these characters and their battle to save humanity. The one character that I really loved reading was Rose, I think her character has, by far, one of the best developments in a book that I’ve read in a really long time. I honestly can’t wait to see where he takes Rose’s character from her.

Now, I just want to briefly talk about the aliens of these books. We really don’t know much about them and that obviously adds an air of mystery around them. And its killing me, I need to know more, I want to know everything I can about them. I really hope we get some good aliens and not the disappointment that was The 5th Wave.

But anyways, I digress. From the very first page I was on the edge of my seat, the plot never stalled out or had long mind numbing scenes. The action was always just the right amount and they kept you on your toes guessing as to the events to come. And let me tell you, I was not prepared for many of those events. I just wasn’t. And I’m still not over some of them. But thats what makes a really good book for me and I hope it does for you too.

Waking Gods is everything I want in a book. There was no huge focus on relationships, there was action and epic fights, strong female main characters, apocalypse events and of course, aliens! And let’s not forget the books awesome format, written in interviews and file dossiers!

Review: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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Title: The Inexplicable Logic of My Life
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Genre: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Contemporary
Expected Publication Date: March 7th, 2017
Rating

SynopsisFrom the multi-award-winning author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe comes a gorgeous new story about love, identity, and families lost and found.

Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican-American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

This humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.

Please note that I received a free eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: “Maybe I’d always had the wrong idea as to who I really was.”

How do I even begin to explain how much I loved this book? You know, there are books that make you feel things and then there are books that make you live and breathe every emotion and every feeling. And that’s exactly what The Inexplicable Logic of My Life did to me. It completely ripped me apart from the inside out. It’s this beautiful story of love and friendship and family and that all those things come from unexpected places and people. These characters and their story just prove that family doesn’t necessarily come from blood and that through love and acceptance you can overcome anything.

I really can’t get over how completely diverse The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is. We have a white main character who was adopted into a Mexican family, his adoptive father is gay and his grandmother is Catholic. We have straight characters and gay characters and religious characters and different enthnicities and it’s amazing. How Sáenz deals with all of it individually and yet simultaneously making everything of equal importance just blows my mind. I can’t say enough how real this book felt. That’s just what comes to mind every time I think about it, it is just so real.

Now, Salvador was a main character that I almost immediately connected with. I mean, at 17 years old, I had no idea where I was going in life, what I wanted from college and I knew, maybe I still do that struggle with anger and not knowing where it came from or how to deal with it. To watch him grow as a character, his struggles, his inner battles, his raw emotions, I was hooked for every minute of it. I really didn’t want his story to end, I was left wanting so much more by the end. Something that I really loved about his character development was that there was no relationship involved. As in no significant other of any kind. His best friend never turned into his girlfriend, there was no correlation of a relationship to his character growth and that was so perfect. But what we did get to witness was the relationship growth of his father and that was something fairly new to me. And honestly, I want more of it. I loved seeing the whole picture, the whole family. They weren’t just faceless, no subsistence characters, they were just as real as Salvador. I don’t know how Sáenz does it, makes all these beautifully real characters, whether they are the main characters or the side characters, they each had significance and subsistence and I can’t applaud him enough for that.

Okay, let’s be honest here, I’m really just repeating myself because come on, what wasn’t there to love about this? I love Sáenz, I love his writing, I love his characters, I love his diversity and how he does all that diversity justice. I honestly, couldn’t put this book down and I knew from that first page that this was going to be a book that I cherish for a long time. I really recommend sitting down with this book and spending some quality time with it because it settles into you and becomes a part of you in the best way possible.