Review: The Sound of Stars

Title: The Sound of Stars
Author: Alechia Dow
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: February 25, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Can a girl who risks her life for books and an alien who loves forbidden pop music work together to save humanity?

Two years ago, a misunderstanding between the leaders of Earth and the invading Ilori resulted in the deaths of one-third of the world’s population.

Seventeen-year-old Janelle “Ellie” Baker survives in an Ilori-controlled center in New York City. Deemed dangerously volatile because of their initial reaction to the invasion, humanity’s emotional transgressions are now grounds for execution. All art, books and creative expression are illegal, but Ellie breaks the rules by keeping a secret library. When a book goes missing, Ellie is terrified that the Ilori will track it back to her and kill her.

Born in a lab, M0Rr1S (Morris) was raised to be emotionless. When he finds Ellie’s illegal library, he’s duty-bound to deliver her for execution. The trouble is, he finds himself drawn to human music and in desperate need of more. They’re both breaking the rules for love of art—and Ellie inspires the same feelings in him that music does.

Ellie’s—and humanity’s—fate rests in the hands of an alien she should fear. M0Rr1S has a lot of secrets, but also a potential solution—thousands of miles away. The two embark on a wild and dangerous road trip with a bag of books and their favorite albums, all the while making a story and a song of their own that just might save them both. 

Review:

This story is set in the future, when aliens have invaded Earth. Humans were destroying the planet, so the aliens, called the Ilori, came to Earth. The Ilori started to vaccinate people so they could control them. They also banned all art forms. Janelle ran an illegal library in her building, where she met an alien, M0Rr1S, who liked illegal music. They escape New York and have to travel across the country to safety.

I really enjoyed this story. The premise of books being banned is a popular thread in books. It shows how important and persuasive books and art can be, because they are often banned if they have controversial ideas.

The one thing I didn’t really like was the plotline about the singers. There were some random interviews and articles about a band called the Starry Eyed. That storyline joined with the main narrative at the end, but I wish it had more of a connection with the plot.

This was a great story.

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Diabolic (The Diabolic #1) by S. J. Kincaid

This Mortal Coil (This Mortal Coil #1) by Emily Suvada

Have you read The Sound of Stars? What did you think of it?

Review: Jinxed (Jinxed #1)

Title: Jinxed (Jinxed #1)
Author: Amy McCulloch
Genre: Middle Grade, Science Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Young Readers
Source: Publisher NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Lacey Chu has big dreams of becoming a companioneer for MONCHA, the largest tech firm in North America and the company behind the  “baku” – a customisable smart pet that functions as a phone but makes the perfect companion too. When Lacey finds out she hasn’t been accepted into Profectus – the elite academy for cutting edge tech – it seems her dreams are over. Worst of all, rather than getting to choose one of the advanced bakus, she’s stuck with a rubbish insect one. 

Then, one night, Lacey comes across the remains of an advanced baku. Once it might’ve been in the shape of a cat but it’s now mangled and broken, no sign of electronic life behind its eyes. Days of work later and the baku opens its eyes. Lacey calls him Jinx – and Jinx opens up a world for her that she never even knew existed, including entry to the hallowed halls of Profecus. Slowly but surely, Jinx becomes more than just a baku to Lacey – he becomes her perfect companion. But what is Jinx, really? His abilities far surpass anything written into his code or built into his motherboard. He seems to be more than just a robotic pet. He seems … real.

Review:

This is an amazing new middle grade novel! I really enjoyed it.

This story is set in a futuristic Toronto. It was a pleasant surprise that it was set in the city where I live. In this future, people have “bakus” which do everything that our phones do and more. The bakus come in different levels, depending on how skilled the person is and how much money they can afford to spend on one. The students who are the best of their class get sent to a special school where they can then get a job at the company that makes the bakus when they graduate.

There were a couple of mysteries in this story surrounding the disappearance of some people. Monica Chan, who created the baku, disappeared. Lacey’s father also abruptly left his job and disappeared, and no one knows what happened to him.

This story was fast paced and unpredictable. I was hooked on it right away. I’m so curious to find out what happens in the next book!

Thank you Sourcebooks Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Upside-Down Magic (Upside-Down Magic #1) by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, Emily Jenkins

Have you read Jinxed? What did you think of it?

Review: The Fever King (Feverwake #1)

Title: The Fever King (Feverwake #1)
Author: Victoria Lee
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, LGBTQ
Publisher: Skyscape
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: March 1, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

Review:

I had a hard time getting into this story at the beginning because it was very political. It takes place in the future, where the United States is divided up into separate countries. There were protests from the refugees who were being deported from the countries. There was also a virus going around that either killed people, or, for a few, gave them a magic power.

Once the story went from the broad political story to a plot about the main characters, I really enjoyed it. I couldn’t tell who was lying and what side people were on. It was especially tricky because some characters were telepathic, so they knew when others were lying to them.

This was an exciting story. I really enjoyed it!

Thank you Skyscape for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

This Mortal Coil (This Mortal Coil #1) by Emily Suvada

The Last Magician (The Last Magician #1) by Lisa Maxwell

Have you read The Fever King? What did you think of it?

Review: Topside

Title: Topside
Author: J.N. Monk, Harry Bogosian
Genre: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Publisher: Graphic Universe
Source: Thomas Allen and Son (book distributor)
Format: Paperback
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A wild outer-space fantasy about fixing your mistakes and the friends you meet along the way.

When Jo, a headstrong maintenance technician, makes an error that destabilizes her planet’s core, she only knows one way to fix things: leaving her underground home for a trip to the planet’s dangerous, unruly surface. Soon she’s wandering through deserts, riding on the back of giant beasts, and cutting deals with con artists and bounty hunters. Meanwhile, agents of the core are in hot pursuit. J. N. Monk and Harry Bogosian (co-creators of the web-comic StarHammer) present a wild outer-space fantasy about fixing your mistakes and the friends you meet along the way. 

Review:

This was a fun sci fi graphic novel.

Jo is a maintenance worker in the core of the planet she lives on. She makes a mistake one day that will take a long time to get the supplies to fix. Instead of waiting, she goes to the surface of the planet, or the topside, to get the supplies. She ends up leading a bunch of people on a chase around the planet.

There were some funny parts to the story. When the workers were chasing Jo to reprimand her for making the mistake, they had to keep stopping to get approval for different tasks. They couldn’t pursue her without permission. That was funny, because every time they caught up to her, she got away because they had to wait for permission.

I didn’t like the colours used in the graphics. The colours were good when the characters were on the top side, but when they were in the core, the colours were monochromatic. That made it difficult to tell what was actually happening in the graphics, since everything was the same colour.

I enjoyed this graphic novel.

Thank you Thomas Allen and Son for providing a copy of this graphic novel in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Unplugged and Unpopular by Mat Heagerty, Tintin Pantoja, Mike Amante

Have you read Topside? What did you think of it?

Review: Angel Catbird, Vol. 2: To Castle Catula

Title: Angel Catbird, Vol. 2: To Castle Catula
Author: Margaret Atwood, Johnnie Christmas, Tamra Bonvillain
Genre: Science Fiction, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Dark Horse
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The cat-centric adventure continues, in the all-ages follow-up to best-selling novelist Margaret Atwood’s debut graphic novel. Genetic engineer Strig Feleedus, also known as Angel Catbird, and his band of half-cats head to Castle Catula to seek allies as the war between cats and rats escalates. 

Margaret Atwood, the respected, worldwide best-selling novelist, and acclaimed artist Johnnie Christmas continue their action-packed adventure!

Review:

The cat/humans had to run away from the rat creator, Murtroid, in this second volume. They travel through the forest to Count Catula’s castle.

I love the cat references in this series! There were new cats in this book, including NeferKitti (who is the real Nefertiti) and her mummykittens, as well as the bird human Athen-Owl (who is the Greek goddess Athena). These were really funny references.

There were more great cat facts in this book, too. Every few pages, there are some facts about cats and their impact on the world. This included how many people abandon cats and how many species of birds that cats have been involved in making extinct.

I love this series! It’s funny and great for cat lovers!

Other Books in the Series:

What to read next:

Angel Catbird, Vol. 3: the Catbird Roars

Have you read Angel Catbird, Vol. 2: To Castle Catula? What did you think of it?

Review: The Marrow Thieves

Title: The Marrow Thieves
Author: Cherie Dimaline
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Dancing Cat Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: May 10, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

In a futuristic world ravaged by global warming, people have lost the ability to dream, and the dreamlessness has led to widespread madness. The only people still able to dream are North America’s Indigenous people, and it is their marrow that holds the cure for the rest of the world. But getting the marrow, and dreams, means death for the unwilling donors. Driven to flight, a fifteen-year-old and his companions struggle for survival, attempt to reunite with loved ones and take refuge from the “recruiters” who seek them out to bring them to the marrow-stealing “factories.”

Review:

This is an amazing story that mixes the ancient Native Canadian culture with a futuristic dystopia.

In the world of this novel, Native Canadians were being rounded up so they could be studied. They were the only people who still dream, and everyone else wanted to take that ability back from them. It was unclear why they were the only people left with the ability to dream. The characters in this story had to run away into the forests to escape capture.

This story was character driven, with a very strong cast. Their only goal was to go north, so they kept walking. There was a group of kids and adults, who were not related, but lived together because they had lost the rest of their families.

The characters had detailed backstories, which were devastating to read about. There was a lot of pain in their individual histories, which was reminiscent of the real history of Native people in Canada. Many parts were difficult to read, but it is important to know these stories because they represent our real history.

This book had a beautiful ending, which made all the pain worth it. I loved the story!

What to read next:

Moon of the Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice

Have you read The Marrow Thieves? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Forbidden Warriors (The Forbidden #1)

Title: The Forbidden Warriors (The Forbidden #1)
Author: Moud Adel
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher: Masteroperia
Source: Breakeven Books
Format: Ebook
Release Date: November 15, 2019
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Mastoperia: A hidden continent with four factions divided and suspicious of each other, with a history of unresolved wars, each grounding themselves in their own unique culture, and magical power. 

The Forbidden Warriors: The only force powerful enough to keep the factions from destroying one another. The secret to their power is a mystery, but the only way to hold on to it is by passing the power to a new generation every two and a half centuries. 

As that time has arrived, each faction must offer a candidate to become the next generation of the Forbidden Warriors, but only one can be the leader. In a race for that leadership position, four candidates and their teams travel across a world mysterious to them, to hunt artifacts they know nothing about. The mission is not easy, their goals are not aligned, and the truth is far bigger than they could have imagined. A challenge none were ready for. 

Will they choose their own interests, their factions’ or defy all that they know for the sake of their world.

Review:

This is an interesting series.

I really liked the premise of the book. A group of four people from different factions are brought together for a competition. One of them will become the ruler of Mastoperia and the others will be their guards. They are each able to bring four people from their homelands. However, the twist is that their teams end up being a mix of people from each different faction. Then, they each have to work together with their opponents from different factions to win the position of ruler.

There was a ton of world building in this story. I think the world would have made more sense if it had been described slowly. There was lots of information all at once, without the world really being described. There were also a lot of characters to keep track of, and I got them mixed up a lot. If there was more of an introduction to all of them at the beginning, I would have been able to get to know them more.

I liked this story.

Thank you Breakeven Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Last Seed (The Forbidden #0.5) by Moud Adel

Blog Tour Schedule:

Have you read The Forbidden Warriors? What did you think of it?

Review: Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3)

Title: Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3)
Author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: March 13, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion? 

Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. 

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken. 

Review:

This was an amazing conclusion to the Illuminae Files series.

I was hooked right from the start. Even though these books have hundreds of pages, they are so fast paced that I flew through them.

This story introduced some new characters on the planet Keranza IV. The characters from the first two books were still there, on their ship, the Mao. It was great to see everyone come together in this book.

I loved the ending. It was unexpected. I was disappointed at first, when there were some casualties in the final war, but I ended up loving the ending.

This is a fabulous series! I highly recommend it!

What to read next:

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

Have you read Obsidio? What did you think of it?

Review: The Toll (Arc of the Scythe #3)

Title: The Toll (Arc of the Scythe #3)
Author: Neal Shusterman
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Source: Indigo Fall Preview
Format: Paperback
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman comes the thrilling conclusion to the Printz Honor–winning series Arc of a Scythe.

It’s been three years since Rowan and Citra disappeared; since Scythe Goddard came into power; since the Thunderhead closed itself off to everyone but Grayson Tolliver.

In this pulse-pounding conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman’s Arc of a Scythe trilogy, constitutions are tested and old friends are brought back from the dead.

Review:

This was one of my most highly anticipated books of 2019. I was beyond excited to get an ARC of it.

The story started out super slow. It follows the huge events of the last book, where some major characters were potentially killed. I don’t want to give too much away, in case anyone hasn’t read it yet. This story started out following some minor characters from the first two books. I kept waiting to hear from my favourite characters, Citra and Rowan.

I found that the story really picked up halfway through the book. Then, it was really hard to put down. The first half of the book was kind of an introduction to the story. There was necessary information in the first half that was needed to create the huge ending. However, it was very slow paced. I wish some of the events of the two halves of the books were woven together to make the pacing a little steadier.

The ending of the story was one of my favourite endings to a book series ever. I’m so happy with how it ended. The book took a little work to get through, but the ending was worth it!

Thank you Indigo for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Dry by Neal Shusterman, Jarrod Shusterman

The Diabolic (The Diabolic #1) by S.J. Kincaid

Have you read The Toll? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Last Seed (The Forbidden #0.5)

Title: The Last Seed (The Forbidden #0.5)
Author: Moud Adel
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher: Masteroperia
Source: Author
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 21, 2019
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Orantine is the best spy in her faction, the one they go to for impossible missions. But her next target is like nothing she has faced before, a high ranking official in a faction whose members can see the future.

Orantine has never failed before, but this time, she isn’t sure success is possible.

Armed with her faction’s genetic mutation, and the latest technology the world has to offer. Orantine believes she has found the perfect plan.

Nothing comes without a price, however, and this mission will push her to the edge, and further.

How far will she go to ensure success? And how far is she willing to go to prove she is the greatest in her world?

Review:

This is a great novella!

The world building was very well done. I felt like I knew the world so well in just a few pages. This can be difficult to do in a short book. In this world, people have different seeds that connect to their bodies to control things such as emotions or memories. I think this is a realistic future development.

Most of this story is being told by the main character to an officer so that she can return to her homeland. It became a little confusing when there were flashbacks in her narrative, because I wasn’t sure what was happening in the present and what was in the past. The transitions between these parts could have been a little clearer.

I really enjoyed this story. I’ll definitely have to look for more stories set in this world.

Thank you Breakeven Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

War Remnants (The Forbidden #0) by Mould Adel

Blog Tour Schedule:

Have you read The Last Seed? What did you think of it?