Book Review: Icons

Icons (Icons, #1)Icons

by Margaret Stohl

Published: May 2013 by Harper Voyager

Version: Paperback from publisher (all views are my own, honest opinion)

Rating: 3.5 sofas

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol’s family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn’t know it was fighting.

Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside — safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can’t avoid.

She’s different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador’s privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn’t a coincidence. It’s a conspiracy.

Within the Icon’s reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions — which they’ve always thought to be their greatest weaknesses — may actually be their greatest strengths.

Bestselling author Margaret Stohl delivers the first book in a heart-pounding series set in a haunting new world where four teens must piece together the mysteries of their pasts — in order to save the future.

At first it sounds very War of the Worlds-esque, as we learn of the icons that have descended around all the major cities on Earth.  On The Day, a billion people were killed instantly, including Dolly’s parents. Since then, the icons have been in charge of all power. Anyone who gets close enough is wiped out by an electrical pulse.

From the beginning we know that Dolly and Ro are different, bonded together by the dots on their arms. With only each other to rely on, immediately I am backing their side. But when they are captured by the Embassy,  Dolly starts to really think about and question the way icons changed the world, and her purpose in it.

This book was paced really well, it made me want to continue reading. As the book progresses it involves quite well, and we begin to know more about the Embassy and the world as whole, rather than being thrown into it at the beginning.

Character wise, Dol is the only real likeable one out of the bunch. There is the classic love triangle going on, and I can’t really understand Tima’s motive. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, I’m not even sure whether I’m meant to like her or not. Baring in mind they are meant to be the ‘good’ team, I expected to like them more. As such they are just irritating. I’m also not really sure if the meaning (point?) of the binding of dots, but I hope this is explained more in the next book. 

This is a dystopian I would definitely recommend for fans of War of the Worlds. Although I found the characters quite unlikeable, I did enjoy the world building. I will be picking up the sequel to find out more about the aliens and how the story ends up. 3.5 sofas! 

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Book Blitz: Aberrant

Welcome to the book blitz for Aberrant by Ruth Silver. Published 28th April 2013.

In the future Dystopian society of Cabal, the government instills equality for all and offers its citizens the perfect system. There is food, shelter and jobs for everyone. The one requirement is to follow the rules without question, including the government’s match in marriage and “The Day of the Chosen”, a lottery that randomly selects families to conceive children as natural means hasn’t existed in generations. Following her eighteenth birthday, Olivia Parker accepts her requirement to marry her childhood best friend, Joshua Warren, and is eager to start her work assignment and new life when it all comes abruptly to an end as she’s arrested and thrown in prison. The only crime committed, her existence. Olivia is unlike the rest of the world born not from “The Day of the Chosen.” The truth haunts the government and puts her life in grave danger as one simple fact would destroy the perfect system.

With Joshua’s help, Olivia breaks free of prison and is forced on the run. Together they set out to find the promised rebel town in search of a new home and new life together. Their situation seems less than promising as they reach the town of Haven. New rules and customs must be adhered to in order to stay. Leaving would mean most certain death in the large expanse of the Gravelands. Time is running out as the government mounts an attack to destroy Olivia and bury her secret with her. Thrown into a world unlike their own, they must quickly adapt to survive.

Purchase: Amazon or Barnes and Noble 
 

Author Bio

Ruth Silver is the best-selling author of Aberrant. The Young Adult/New Adult Romantic Dystopian Adventure, Aberrant is the first in a trilogy,  released April 17th, 2013. Silver first began writing poetry as a teenager and reading heaps of fan fiction in her free time. She attended Northern Illinois University in 2001 and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Communication. While in college she spent much of her free time writing with friends she met online and penning her first novel, Deuces are Wild, which she self-published in 2004. Her favorite class was Creative Writing senior year where she often handed in assignments longer than the professor required because she loved to write and always wanted to finish her stories. Her love of writing, led her on an adventure in 2007 to Melbourne, Australia. Silver enjoys reading YA/NA  novels and sharing her favorite books with other readers. She also enjoys photography, traveling and of most of all writing.
LINKS: Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Interview

Favorite childhood book?

The Velveteen Rabbit, it’s not only a beautiful story but also quite sad. Plus I love rabbits, I used to have one in college (that I snuck into my dorm room).

 What is your writing process?

I usually create a very vague outline that gets dramatically changed as the story develops. I also create character pages, so I can keep everyone straight – personalities, physical traits, family lineage.

 What do you like to do besides writing?

I love to read, which probably goes without saying. I also enjoy photography, video games, traveling and just hanging out with my friends.

 How did you come up with creating Cabal, the dystopian society in Aberrant? What inspired you?

The name itself, Cabal, comes from its definition. “A small group of secret plotters,” which I felt fitting for a dystopian society. I wanted the name to signify a revolution, because Cabal is not the perfect society that the government wishes and pretends it to be. I wanted Cabal to strive for Utopian but instead of being perfect, it was something else entirely.

The inspiration itself comes from most of us striving towards perfection. I don’t think there are many people that want a world without jobs, filled with homeless people that are starving. I think it’s easy to see what’s going on in society, what’s happening now and see a glimpse of the current world in its worst. It made me want to imagine a better world and then I realized how would this perfect world be flawed?

 In few words, why should we read your book?

I believe Aberrant will appeal to readers who liked the suspense of The Hunger Games, the thrill-seeking tests of Divergent and the romance and unique abilities of Graceling.

Giveaway (INT)

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a character named after you in the sequel, $25 Amazon giftcard and a signed copy of Aberrant.

Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for organising.

Blog tour: Daynight

Welcome today for my blog tour post for Magan Thomason’s Daynight. Thanks to Laura at Prism Book Tours for organising!

 

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

It’s time to leave Earth and cross over to the other side… it’s not as far away as you think!!

Daynightdaynight by Megan Thomason Paperback, 324 pages Published November 26th 2012 by Creatspace Meet The Second Chance Institute (SCI): Earth’s benevolent non-profit by day, Thera’s totalitarian regime by night. Their motto: Because Everyone Deserves a Second Chance™. Reality: the SCI subjects Second Chancers to strict controls and politically motivated science experiments like Cleaving—forced lifetime union between two people who have sex. Punishment for disobeying SCI edicts? Immediate Exile or death. Meet Kira Donovan. Fiercely loyal, overly optimistic, and ensnared by the promise of a full-ride college scholarship, Kira signs the SCI Recruit contract to escape memories of a tragedy that left her boyfriend and friends dead. Meet Blake Sundry. Bitter about being raised in Exile and his mother’s death, Blake’s been trained to infiltrate and destroy the SCI. Current barrier to success? His Recruit partner—Miss Goody Two Shoes Kira Donovan. Meet Ethan Darcton. Born with a defective heart and resulting inferiority complex, Ethan’s forced to do his SCI elite family’s bidding. Cleave-worthy Kira Donovan catches his eye, but the presiding powers give defect-free Blake Sundry first dibs.

My Review

I have to say how refreshing I found this book when I began to read it. Kira is sent through a portal to another planet, called Thera, where the days and nights are swapped. As well as adjusting to this new world, she has to get to know her ‘partner’, Blake, who just happened to save her at a party back on Earth which got all her friends and her boyfriend killed. But where did Ethan disappear to, whom she met at the party just before the explosion? One of the great parts about this book is that it is told from three points of view; Kira, Blake and Ethan’s. Because of this, it really gives a rounded view of whats going on at any one time. And it was great to get an insight into the guys’ heads! Something that I found frustrating was how dumb Kira was. I was practically screaming at her for parts of the book. There was a huge buildup to the identity of the ‘second chancers’ (which I had guessed as soon as I heard the name) and after that it just gets more frustrating. Lots of things are presented as shocking or a big deal, when I had already guessed or presumed as much a lot earlier. Thus I didn’t really find anything to keep me intrigued or suspenseful. And I didn’t really get the whole ‘cleaving thing’, and why it had such an icky name!  I loved the world building and thus the first half for me was really amazing. I enjoyed reading from Blake and Ethan’s perspective, but I also felt that some characters such as Bailey were wasted. And Kira was frustrating! That girl needs some common sense. 3.5 sofas from me!  

Introducing…  the new Novella:  FREE for the Tour!
 
clean slate complex (a daynight novella)clean slate complex
by Megan Thomason
 
Meet The Second Chance Institute (SCI): Worldwide non-profit and do-gooder organization. Their motto: Because Everyone Deserves a Second Chance at Life(TM). Reality: hidden behind every kind act is a dark agenda designed to gain control and force societal and moral extremes. Currently, the SCI’s pushing Project Liberate, a program to woo the poor and downtrodden into their Clean Slate Complexes—where “everything is provided” from jobs to food, shelter, clothing, and education. Unfortunately, as with all things that sound too good to be true, there’s a catch…
 
Meet Alexa Knight. Feisty, tough and currently homeless in Los Angeles, Alexa agrees to help the SCI in return for medical care for her sick mother. When she starts to suspect there’s more to the SCI than meets the eye will she believe Adam—the boy who saved her life and the SCI’s biggest champion, or Joshua—the attractive enigma who sings about conspiracy theories and pretends to be someone he’s not?
 
Full of action, humor, romance, twists and turns, clean slate complex is a companion story to the highly-praised dystopian novel, daynight. It can be enjoyed before or after readingdaynight.
 
 

Megan Thomason Megan Thomason lives in paradise aka San Diego, CA with her husband and five children. A former software manager, Megan vastly prefers writing twisted tales to business, product, and marketing plans. When she isn’t typing away on her laptop, she’s reading books on her phone—over 600 in the last year—or attending to the needs of her family. Megan’s fluent in sarcasm, could potentially benefit from a 12-step program for road rage, struggles with a Hot Tamales addiction, loves world travel & fast cars and hates paperwork & being an insomniac. Daynight is Megan’s first published novel, but fourth written one.

Find & Follow:
 

Twitter

 

daynight Second Chances Giveaway:  

Choose what you enter to win wisely. Your stay on Thera may be extended indefinitely.  

Highlighting a different giveaway every daynight of the Tour… International Winners will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate and US Winners may choose $25 GC in lieu of Prize Package. US only. International winners will receive $25 Amazon gift certificate. US winners can opt to receive $25 Amazon gift certificate in lieu of any prize package.Open only to those who can legally enter. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced on Rafflecopter and Grand Finale posts as well as emailed and the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Burgandy Ice @ Colorimetry and Prism Book Tours and sponsored by Megan Thomason. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

 
Become an SCI Recruit The Second Chance Institute (daynight’s Dystopia)

April   22 – Launch! – My Seryniti – Review – Little Library Muse 23 – Tressa’s Wishful Endings – Buckeye Girl Reads – Teaser – Marked by Books – Review – Red Headed Bookworm

Welcome to Thera! Building Thera

24 – Coffee Books and Me Stressed Rach Snuggling on the Sofa – Review 25 – Christy’s Cozy Corner – Teaser – All Fantasy Words – Review

Kira * Blake * Ethan Character Backgrounds & Posters

           26 – Susie Q-Pons and Giveaways – Review – My Passion for Books – Review; Ethan – Paranormal opinion – Blake – The Cozy Reading Corner – Kira – Book, Books, the Magical Fruit – Teaser – Bookaroo-Ju – Teaser 27 – Bookworm Lisa – The Characters – Getting Your Read On – Review

Cleaving daynight’s Controversy of “Cleaving”

28 – Fantastical World of Wonders – Review – Pause Time – A Backwards Story – Beck Valley Books 29 – I Am a Reader, Not a Writer – Teaser – Books Mystify – Review – Mel’s Shelves – Review

Vacation on Earth! Escapism
           30 – The Broke Book Bank – Review
                – Letters to the Cosmos – Review
                – Arriane Cruz
                – Candace’s Book Blog
May      1 – Life of a YA Girl – Review
                – Fuonlyknew – Teaser
                – Jack’s Junk Drawer – Review
Risking Exile Dystopian Survival 101

2 – A Tiffyfit’s Reading Corner – Review – Lovin’ Los Libros – Review – Paulette’s Papers – Becky’s Barmy Book Blog  3 – Backing Books – Teaser – Book Snob – Review 4 – Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks – Living a Goddess Life – Review; Recipe

Clean Slate Complex
             5 – Mortality Bites – The Book Eater – Deco My Heart – Review 6 – Passion and Life – Teaser – The Reading Diaries – Review 7 – Grand Finale Blast!!

Book Review: Breathe

Breathe (Breathe, #1)

When oxygen levels plunge in a treeless world, a state lottery decides which lucky few will live inside the Pod. Everyone else will slowly suffocate. Years after the Switch, life inside the Pod has moved on. A poor Auxiliary class cannot afford the oxygen tax which supplies extra air for running, dancing and sports. The rich Premiums, by contrast, are healthy and strong. Anyone who opposes the regime is labelled a terrorist and ejected from the Pod to die. Sixteen-year-old Alina is part of the secret resistance, but when a mission goes wrong she is forced to escape from the Pod. With only two days of oxygen in her tank, she too faces the terrifying prospect of death by suffocation. Her only hope is to find the mythical Grove, a small enclave of trees protected by a hardcore band of rebels. A dystopian thriller about courage and freedom, with a love story at its heart.

Breathe‘ by Sarah Crossan is my latest dystopian YA read. My copy was a proof copy borrowed from my librarian friend, and as such, did not have the pretty cover shown above. However, I was delighted to get my hands on it. 

The book is set in a future where all the trees have been cut down. As a result, the oxygen levels have dropped, forcing everyone to live inside the Pod. Oxygen is used like currency; only the Premiums can afford oxygen to play sports, and buy tanks for day trips outside the Pod. 

It is told from 3 perspectives; Quinn, son of one of the Pod politicans, who lives a nice Premium lifestyle. Bea, Quinn’s best friend, works hard to try and change her auxiliary lifestyle to that of a Premium. And Alina, who is part of the resistance. When a mission goes wrong, she has to enlist the help of Quinn and Bea to escape the Pod and get to the Glade, where the resistance has gathered. 

I have to say I did really enjoy this book. I think it is written really while, and I like having the different perspectives. It allows us to get different views on the world, and on the characters. One of the things that makes this book a good read is that the story is plausible. There could be a future without trees, and the harsh reality is that we probably will not realise the consequences until it happens. 

Bea is an excellent character. From the beginning we empathise with her, and the struggle she faces as an auxiliary to succeed in society. She is loyal to Quinn, despite him preferring flings with other girls than her. So when Alina asks for his (their) help in escaping the Pod, she goes along with him. However, I think the character I liked most in ‘Breathe’ is Quinn. As the son of a high society man, he is spoilt. But when injustice occurs, he is confused. Thus we follow him on a personal journey of discovery, a Premium as part of the resistance. 

The only niggle I had with this book is that I just didn’t feel like there was anything particularly awesome about it. It was a good read, it had some twists, and I am looking forward to the next novel to be released in 2013. But I was just left wanting a bit more. 

Do you disagree? Think ‘Breathe’ is the best thing since sliced bread? Let me know! 

Book Review: Rebel Heart

Rebel Heart (Dust Lands, #2)

Rebel Heart‘ by Moira Young is the second book in the Dustlands series. I recently read book one, ‘Blood Red Road’ (check out my review here) and I had to read the second one straight away. I needed more Saba and Jack!

This book starts with following Jack, who left the others behind to find Molly, and tell her about Ike. During which he runs into the fearful Tonton. Cut to Saba and crew, now reunited with Lugh. When Saba receives a message from Maev about Jack’s new friendship, she knows she has to find him. 

Thus the book follows the same road-trip-esqe feel of the previous novel, but this time with much more emotion. Tension between Saba and Lugh  (and the other team members) is high, with Saba willing to put everything on the line for Jack.

The writing style follows much the same as the first book, with the grammar and spelling similar to slang speak than English. I thought it was less prevalent than the first book, but maybe I just got used to it!

The characters in this series are just amazing. I love a strong female character, but one that has vulnerabilities too. The only disappointment I really had was Lugh, as I found him quite frustrating. I’m hoping that Moira will develop his character more in the third book. Also, there is a moment in the book where Emmi shines, but I really do think she is overlooked more than she should be. And the storyline at the beginning with the starreader/psychic lady was never really tied up.

This book has everything I look for in a YA novel; dystopia, a strong female, romance, emotion, character empathy and action. Needless to say, I utterly devoured this book. The only negative I have is that the third book isn’t out yet. If you haven’t yet read this, I implore you to get your hands on a copy! The series is one of my top reads of this year, and one I will definitely re-read before the next novel. Do you agree? 

Book Review: Blood Red Road

Blood Red Road (Dust Lands, #1)

I know this book has been about for a while, and I do remember seeing it, but not picking it up. Well a librarian friend of mine recommended it, so I had to read it. For anyone who hasn’t read or heard of ‘Blood Red Road‘ by Moira Young, be aware that the grammar and spelling isn’t good, as it’s written in the style of a teenager who cannot read or write (as far as I’m aware). So it does take some getting used to, and might put people of entirely. After about 50 pages of so, I kind of didn’t really notice it, which shows just how good the writing is.

When Saba’s brother Lugh is captured by the Tonton (baddies), it’s up to her to find him and bring him back. So along with her younger sister Emmi, she goes on a journey to find him, discovering more about herself in the process.

I love this book! To be honest I hadn’t really heard much about this book on the blogosphere, but I thought I’d give it a try. As a forewarning, it is very addictive! The book is split up into geographical areas. I think the character development is exceptional, as we go from seeing Seba as a lost girl, with only one girl; to get Lugh back home. She is forced into a world that she didn’t know existed, and experiences its’ cruelties. She has to grow up quickly; learning that not everyone can be trusted, but equally, that she can rely on others. We see friendships formed, arguments and loss.

There is quite a lot of action in this book, but it is also quite emotional. I would definately recommend it! So much that I have started the sequel straight away 🙂

 Have you read it? What did you think? Can you recommend anything similar? Or just want to share your excitement for the 3rd book? Let me know!

                   Blood Red Road (Dust Lands, #1)                Blood Red Road (Dust Lands, #1)

Book Review: The Maze Runner

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.
Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.
Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. 
Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

Originally I picked up number 3 in the trilogy by James Dashner, but I had to start from the beginning! I ordered ‘The Maze Runner‘ from the library, and it has been sitting in my to read pile for a couple of weeks.

I think the book had quite a slow start; we start with Thomas’ disorientation at his amnesia, and immediately are thrust into the surroundings, including the ‘clan’ of boys. I must confess I did find it hard to get into, as they use a lot of slang, such as ‘shuck-face’ and ‘grievers’. There was also a distinct lack of information, where the first 50-100 pages were spent us following Thomas around the Glade, and his frustration at not getting answers.

The Glade is the area where everyone lives; the centre of the maze. Each night the doors surrounding the glade close, and the walls of the maze move. Because of this, ‘runners’ go out every day to map the maze, to try and find an escape. They have to be back inside by nightfall, as this is when the Grievers appear; modified killing creatures.

Thankfully I persevered and the book does pick up pace. One night Thomas gets trapped outside the Glade with two runners, and this is where the book starts to get more exciting. I won’t give too much away, but we start to understand the secrets of the maze, and more about Thomas. The end is left very open, ready for the sequel!

I did enjoy this book overall, but I would probably shorten the beginning, and get rid of the awful slang! I have ordered the next book in the trilogy, and it has joined by ever growing to be read pile.

On the front cover it says ‘a must for fans of The Hunger Games‘. I love the Hunger Games, so this did reassure me that I should enjoy it, however I don’t think the book had as much intensity as the Hunger Games. Part of the ending did shock me, but I don’t think I know enough about the characters yet to really feel for them.