Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Title: Under the Never Sky
Author: Veronica Rossi
Series: Under the Never Sky #1
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: 1/3/2012
Length: 374 pages
Format: Hardcover
Genres: Fiction, Dystopian, Science-Fiction, Young Adult
Challenges: 2012 Support Your Local Library Challenge, 2012 Debut Author Challenge
Source: Library
Purchase: Hardcover | Kindle | NOOK | ePub
Rating: ★★★★☆

Since she’d been on the outside, she’d survived an Aether storm, she’d had a knife held to her throat, and she’d seen men murdered. This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland – known as The Death Shop – are slim. If the cannibals don’t get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She’s been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild – a savage – and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile – everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria’s help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

I’ll be honest, when I started this book I was like, “huh?” I had no clue what was going on and I really didn’t get into until about half way through. I knew two things: everyone seems to love this book and that it was a romance. Once I was introduced to Aria and Perry and started getting used to the world they lived in, I was interested enough to stay with it. I needed them to meet. Once they met, I needed to see how their romance would develop. People have been raving so I figured it would be worth it. And it was, for the most part.

There’s actually a reason I didn’t give this book five stars. Well, a few reasons. First, I had a hard time recognizing what the main plot was. Was the book about finding Talon and Aria’s mother, or was it about Aria and Perry falling in love? I mean, I know it’s about both, but most books have a plot, a main focus, and everything else (though not unimportant) is supporting material. I tend to pick up books with romance in them because I enjoy reading about romance, whether it’s the point or it’s just a side plot. But I do kind of want it to be one or the other. It just left me feeling like there was a lack of focus on a central idea.

I also felt that the introduction section was too long. It was about the middle of the book before Aria and Perry properly met. That’s a long time. It’s long time for them to meet if this is a love story, and it’s a long time for them to begin their “quest” if that’s the main point. It also made the romance feel rushed later on in the book.

After saying all that, let me stress that this is still a really great book. I think Veronica Rossi did a great job. I just think she could improve, and I’m really excited about that. If this is her first book, how great will her next one be? The characters were interesting and they developed. They were easy to sympathize with and I’m ready for more of them. It wasn’t the HOLY CRAP YOU HAVE TO READ THIS IT’S THE BEST BOOK EVER I thought it would be, but it’s worth reading. I’d say it’s even worth buying.

I recommend this one to lovers of YA and dystopian books, especially if you like some romance in your books. I also think science fiction lovers might enjoy it.

A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Title: A Million Suns
Author: Beth Revis
Series: Across the Universe #2
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: 1/10/2012
Length: 390 pages
Format: Hardcover
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Sci-fi, YA
Challenges: N/A
Source: Purchased
Purchase: Hardcover | Kindle | NOOK | ePub
Rating: ★★★★★

Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.

It’s been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He’s finally free to enact his vision – no more Phydus, no more lies.

But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that’s growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.

I recommended Across the Universe to a friend of mine after I read it. She never could get into it and eventually gave up. I, however, was totally riveted. After she gave me the book back, I worried that I had just been crazy or excited because it wasn’t my normal type of book. Anyway, I’ve been slightly self-conscious about my loving of the book ever since (stupid, I know). So I was a little wary when I picked this one up. I mean, it’s been over a year since the last one and I’ve been having some issues with getting into second novels lately. what if I suddenly realized why she didn’t get into the book, and this one was disappointing? It seems stupid to be this anxious over reading a book, but 1. I take reading seriously, and 2. I’m exaggerating, a little.

So, now you’re like, “Laura, seriously, just tell me about the freaking book!” Okay. It was AWESOME. It was just as awesome as the first one. Now instead of feeling insecure about my taste in books, I think it’s time to accept that my friend is a quitter. She almost never makes it through the books I give her, and I read good stuff! Anyway, I devoured this book in a day. I think I read one chapter of it one night before bed, then woke up and read the whole book the next night. I couldn’t get enough and I’m so sad that I have to wait a whole year for the final one.

So, here are some great things about this book, and I’ll try not to gush too much. I had no trouble whatsoever getting back into the book. There were things that I couldn’t quite remember from the first one, but Beth Revis throws in those details in such a way that it isn’t noticable that she’s reminding me. Amy and Elder have my hearts in their hands. I love both of them so, so much. They both have a lot to deal with and they have some issues they need to work out between each other. I occassionaly had a hard time deciding who I agreed with because they both have good reasons. The plot is so awesome! That’s what really grabs me in these books. I have to know what’s going to happen next. I have to know who’s behind the crazy things going on aboard Godspeed. I have to know how things will turn out. There is no choice. I need to know! And I love that feeling.

Bottom line: read this trilogy. It gripping and so much fun! And there’s no need to worry if you’re not a sci-fi fan. I’m not really either, but I couldn’t get enough of this book.

 

Previous books in this series:
Across the Universe

Tempest by Julie Cross

Title: Tempest
Author: Julie Cross
Series: Tempest #1
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: 1/17/2012
Length: 334 pages
Format: Electronic ARC
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Sci-fi, Young Adult
Challenges: 2012 Debut Author Challenge, 2012 E-book Challenge
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Purchase: Hardcover | Kindle | NOOK | Kobo
Rating: ★★★★★

The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

Okay, I get it. I’ve spent the past few months seeing this cover plastered all over the web. My feed reader and email were both filled with reviews. I was thinking, “what’s the deal?” So, I finally read the synopsis and decided since I love time travel stuff, I should try it and requested a copy on NetGalley. I wish I had read it sooner than I did. It was so good. I went an bought a finished copy the day I finished reading it. I had to put it on my shelf.

Jackson was a great character. He was likable in the beginning, even if I didn’t always love his dishonesty with those around him. But he grew throughout the book. Everything he experienced caused him to appreciate everything he had, and I loved witnessing that development. He slowly learned to face his feelings for Holly and it turned the book into something really beautiful.

It also involved a pretty kick ass plot. In Jackson’s own words, “forget everything you’ve ever heard about time travel.” This kind of time travel was much cooler. It was a little confusing at first, but very cool. There’s tons of action too, which is really gripping. I was dying to know what would happen next for almost the entire book. I read in the acknowledments that it’s been optioned for film, and I think it would make a really awesome movie.

I’m excited about this book and I’m eager to know what will happen next. This was a really wonderful debut from a really promising author. Be sure to pick this one up.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams
performed by Stephen Fry
Published 2005 by Random House Audio
5 hours, 51 minutes. Unabridged.
Rating: 2/5

Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last 15 years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.
Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.”) and a galaxy full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; and Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.

Where are these pens? Why are we born? Why do we die? Why do we spend so much time in between wearing digital watches? For all the answers stick your thumb to the stars. And don’t forget to bring a towel!

I saw the movie adaptation to this when it first came out, which was a while ago. This was like taking a refresher course for a class or something. I pretty much just sat there thinking, “oh yeah, I remember that.” I’m not totally sure if that’s good or not. This book has been on my TBR for years, even before the movie came out. I had so many friends in high school that loved it. My expectations were pretty high, and I just don’t think it met them. It was something I would have really enjoyed then, but isn’t quite my style now.

I will say that it has your typical British humor, much like Monty Python at times. It’s funny, which I suppose is the point, but not quite the hilarious jaunt through space I was expecting. I think Marvin was my favorite part. There’s nothing like a depressed robot to liven things up. Anyway, it’s a relatively funny and short listen, and Stephen Fry does a good job with the narration. If it sounds like something you might like, go ahead and pick it up. Just don’t hold your breath for something absolutely spectacular.

I think I’ll go ahead and try the next book in the “trilogy.” I’m thinking watching that movie years ago kind of spoiled this one for me a little.

Source: Emmett O’Neal Library. Mountain Brook, AL.
Author: http://www.douglasadams.com/
Purchase this book: Random House Audio | Book Depository | IndieBound | Audible

Doodling

Doodling
by Jonathan Gould
Self-published 2011
37 pages. E-book.
Rating: 3/5

Neville Lansdowne fell off the world.

Actually he did not so much fall off as let go. The world had been moving so quickly lately and Neville was finding it almost impossible to keep up.

Doodling is an engaging comic fantasy which relates the events that befall Neville after he finds himself abandoned by the world and adrift in the middle of an asteroid field. Douglas Adams meets Lewis Carroll (with just a touch of Gulliver’s Travels) as Neville wanders through his new home, meeting a variety of eccentric characters. But getting away from the hustle and bustle of the real world turns out to be easier said than done, and Neville soon discovers that if he doesn’t take urgent action, the whole of the asteroid field and all of its inhabitants will be doomed.

I think the synopsis has a great description in “Douglas Adams meets Lewis Carroll.” Similar styles to the authors are definitely present in Gould’s charming story about a boy wandering an asteroid field, looking for a purpose, and finding himself a hero to the people living among the asteroids.

I was never into science, so anything that may have been incorrect or stretched as far as the universe or physics are concerned was over my head. I think that’s probably a good thing for me. I probably enjoyed it more than I would have if I had been questioning the science.

As it is, I think this is a fun story with an easy enough plot to follow and even a little depth. I liked Neville’s need to find his purpose. I think that’s a good message, and in a story that I think could easily be transformed into a good children’s book, it’s well placed. I almost wish it had illustrations of Neville as he meets all the strange people living on the asteroids. That would have made it the perfect experience of the story for me.

Source: Author
Purchase this book: Smashwords

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book from the author. I did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was I obligated to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book’s publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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    Some of the books reviewed on this blog were sent to me by the author or publisher for review. I did not receive any payment in exchange for the review nor was I obligated to write a positive one. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of these reviews. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
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