Lost Review & New Review: Illuminae and Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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synThis morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

review4/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Knopf Books for Young Readers.

Illuminae is a reading experience. The documents, interviews, emails, and recordings get the reader involved in every clue, panic attack, and bit of romance in this epic space thriller.

The pacing is inconsistent. At first, it’s an action-packed thrill ride that will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat. The setting is insane. The danger, the terror of the invasion-it’s beyond intense. The middle part, despite the varied documents lags behind that initial hysteria only to pick up at the end with an unexpected and terrifying twist. 

Some scenes are gory and full of sickening detail. It’s awesome. The attacks are straight out of your favorite horror film and darkest nightmares. 

The world building is fierce and complex and full of politics that put profit over humanity. It’s cruel, despicable, and packed with drama. 

Kady is stellar as a protagonist. She’s conflicted in love, nostalgic, occasionally scared and so relatable, despite being a mad hacker on a space ship. Kady has skills. She uses her brain to dip into the computer systems and uncover secrets, take control, and steer everyone aboard away from utter destruction. The adrenaline is high. Her task has slim odds for survival and yet, Kady NEVER gives up. No matter how much is thrown at her, she fights and fights and keeps fighting for her people. 

The AI, wow. Unexpected and so cool. He’s got personality and such a presence. He’s dangerous, deadly, and struggles to understand emotion, but he’s sort of lovable in a weird way and the only thing saving our heroes from total devastation.

gemina

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syn

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

review

4/5 Stars 

My core issue with Gemina was the lack of rehash early on. There’s no explanation of previous events in Illuminae so I spent most of the book wondering what was going on and when it would link up with the previous story. I was super confused for much of the book. 

Hanna has a big personality, maybe even more epic than Kady’s in book 1. She’s a total, unabashed B.A. character. She’s fierce, intelligent, sexy, and full of sass. She flirts and plays and is one heck of a vixen, but underneath her perky, blonde exterior is a deadly force. Her fighting skills, her Sun Tzu references, her tactical skills, she’s wicked awesome and completely refreshing. She owns her body, her life, and will mess up anyone that threatens her. I’m impressed with how she transforms from a party girl to a warrior. The transition is smooth, floating to the surface because it was always a part of her. 

The added dynamic of Russian gang life was a marvelous addition to this story. The danger, the intrigue, the stories that went along with the Knives, the drama, it totally swept me away. 

Cat and mouse game to the extreme. Man the hunt is deadly, bloody, full of gross description, and the code names alone-each and every character is different, has a strong personality, and has their own reason for trying to capture Hanna. 

There’s a twist. It’s made of science and theory, and is a little confusing but the illustration helps. Oh the illustrations. They’re beautiful and hilarious, part comic book style and part precise diagrams. 

Elena. Oh my gosh, I love her. She’s a sarcasm queen, witty, and full of life. She doesn’t take put downs from anyone and is a genius on the computer. She’s a heroine that may even trump Hanna. Her interactions with Nik are adorable and lively. They fight like siblings, but the love floats off the pages.

Nik is complex. He’s a pervert, a flirt, and his comebacks are hilarious. He’s got the House of Knives gang cred and the tattoos to prove it. He’s so much more than meets the eye. He’s a big softy underneath that tough exterior and loves so hard it will make you swoon. His story is made of drama and lies and twists that will keep you guessing about who he truly is. 

I loved the set up at the end. The parallel between Hanna and Nik, the use of color, the poetic way it works together as one narrative despite the circumstances *no spoilers*. You have to see it. Trust me, it’s genius. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Intense reading,

Jordan

Cover Reveal: Love After Dark-YA Bundle Various Authors

Love After Dark features nine bestselling authors who create worlds and love within them.

Not only will you find love between the pages but new content relating to their fabulous series!

This bundle will include:

Brina Courtney, Ella James, Melissa Andrea, A.O Peart, Alivia Anders, Heather Hildenbrand, Julia Crane, Melissa Pearl and Beth Shelby

Release Date: June 25th, 2014

Reveal by Brina Courtney ( Ignite Novella included )

Connect with Brina Courtney: Facebook & Twitter

Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/q84wt5q

Shay could be the key to ending a war that humans don’t know exist. Of a race of beings that aren’t real, or are they?

Shay Tafford’s childhood has been fatherless, filled instead with memories of speaking to the dead. She is forced to hide her unique ability from those living around her. That’s why it’s been comforting to have Jeremy, a child ghost, as her confidante. But recently he’s been absent, perhaps lost as her father is. When Shay meets Hugh, the guy she’s had a crush on for weeks, and finds he can speak to ghosts too she’s just starting to find a normalcy in her life.

But as Hugh reveals the truth to Shay, about who she really is and about what it is she can do, he erases all chances she had at a normal existence. Turns out talking to ghosts is just scratching the surface of her genetically engineered gifts. Shay learns she may be part of an age old prophecy that could save the entire race of cryptids. But can she?

Here by Ella James

Connect with Ella James: Facebook & Twitter

Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/ov2onag

Milo Mitchell’s life used to be charmed, but that was before her family dissolved, she went a little crazy, and her best friends started acting more like strangers. Spending Saturday morning in a treehouse with a stun gun for company and a herd of deer for friends is the only exciting thing in her life…until she shoots a fawn and finds her dart stuck in a guy.

Her gorgeous victim is dressed in a Brioni tux and armed with a hanky. He has no idea who or where he is. Afraid her dart caused his amnesia, Milo takes him in, names him Nick, and vows to help him solve his mystery. Soon the pair find Nick’s face in a newspaper obituary, and Nick beings to have strange, ethereal memories of Milo–who is sure she’s never met him. Suddenly Nick knows things he shouldn’t know and is doing things he shouldn’t do. When the Department of Defense shows up, Nick and Milo run–toward a shocking conclusion that could destroy both their worlds.

Illumine by Alivia Anders

Connect with Alivia Anders: Facebook & Twitter

Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/oty84fh

For the past five months Essallie Hanley has been trying to forget about the frightening murder of her boyfriend. Haunted by vivid nightmares and hallucinations of the event she does anything she can to pretend she’s like every other normal girl in High School.

Only Essallie is far from normal. Able to conjure blue fire and a shimmering silhouette of wings from her body, she seeks the only known solace left to her name; her first home in Belfast, Maine.

But she soon realizes that her return home is only the beginning of a long and twisted road taking her as far from her humanity as possible, with Kayden, the demon originally summoned to slaughter her, leading the way. Unable to touch her but oddly curious, he joins Essallie in her search to find out just what she is. But neither of them were prepared for the secrets they’ve begun to unravel, secrets that will change Essallie and everyone around her forever.

Flutter by Melissa Andrea

Connect with Melissa Andrea: Facebook & Twitter

Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/p3664tp

Sara
Sara’s life is forever changed –
Waking up, buried & hidden deeply in the last place anyone would want to be, will do that. She is determined to find out how she ended up there & why, but when the only person who can help her, continuously lies to her, she finds herself forced to suffer alone. She can’t ignore the strange things that begin to happen to her nor can she hide from the nightmares that haunt her sleep. And when her world collides with Adan – the mysterious boy whom she can’t seem to stay away from, literally – she is consumed by the familiar flutter that sparks whenever he is around and she is desperate to discover the reason why.
But the biggest discovery will come from the secret of what she is…

Adan
Adan’s mission to find Sara has finally approached –
It seemed simple: bring her back to the enchanted world that lives, breathes and survives because of her, but he quickly finds himself faced with an entirely new challenge. Immediately, Adan realizes that staying unknown to Sara is a task he will fail before even attempting. The pull to her is far too strong to refuse, and being with her will defy the very reason he existed. He was the key to her survival and loving her was not part of the plan that he had been born to follow. Can he find it in himself too resist the urge to be with her and follow through with their destiny or will he destroy everything that had been left to Sara to protect and defend –
And the kingdom she is unaware she rules…

Flutter
As Sara and Adan struggle to overcome their own separate battles –
There is a far more determined evil that is stalking the shadows and waiting to annihilate them both.
Sara will figure out that not everything is what it seems and knowing what she can and can not trust will be the key to finding out the truth to what happened to her, the reason why she had been buried alive and who she really is…

Sara and Adan will discover the hidden meaning to why she was the reason he existed and why he would be the reason she survived & together they will fight to change the rules and rewrite their fate.

 

Dirty Blood by Heather Hildenbrand

Connect with Heather Hildenbrand: Facebook & Twitter

Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/pv89z43

I killed a girl last night. I did it with my bare hands and an old piece of pipe I found lying next to the dumpster. But that’s not the part that got me. The part that scared me, the part I can’t seem to wrap my head around and still has me reeling, was that when she charged me, her body shifted – and then she was a wolf. All snapping teeth and extended claws. But by the time I stood over her lifeless body, she was a girl again. That’s about the time I went into shock… And that was the moment he showed up.

Now, all I can do is accept the truths that are staring me in the face. One, Werewolves do exist. And Two, I was born to kill them.

Anna by Julia Crane – Spin off of The Keegan Chronicles

Connect with Julia Crane: Facebook & Twitter

Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/paggjln

Follow Anna from Keegan’s Chronicles on her own adventure!

Seventeen-year-old Anna is an unskilled, natural witch still seeking a way to access her magick. When she moves to Seattle for college, she encounters two powerful witches who need her as much as she needs them. For the first time, Anna believes she’s found someone who can help her explore her own magick.

Her dream quickly turns into a nightmare.

Creatures of the Light have gone missing, and the witches she admires so well are a part of the mystery.

Before she knows it, Anna is knee deep in the disappearances and trying to forge a relationship with a certain soldier named Tommy, all while trying to find her way. Will she have time to save the creatures of the light or will she become the next victim?

Forged by Greed by A.O. Pert

Connect with A.O. Pert: Facebook

Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/pzy5dnd

Two Seattle 16-year-olds, Jatred and Jasmira, are not your typical star-crossed lovers. They are not even your typical Shape Shifters. Sure, they try to live an ordinary life. At least, as ordinary as the Prince and the Princess of the rivaling ancient Races–the Winter wolves and the Summer leopards–can live. But eventually they learn that not much about their existence can be normal. Especially when the Races’ two commanding Goddesses are involved.

One of the Goddesses is on a quest to tilt the scale of power to her side. The other will never let it happen, even if it means kicking Jatred and Jasmira’s love to the curb. Nothing is off limits, including removing Jatred’s memories of Jasmira.

To complicate things even more, there are the Universe’s powers to consider. They are trapped in an ancient Amulet in order to protect the stability of the world. But the Universe has a mind of its own, and when the powers are unleashed, the forces of nature are disturbed; earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions shake the Earth. All Shifters of both Races are summoned by their respective Goddesses to fight in the name of, or against, the normalcy of the world.

Set In Stone by Anna Cruise

Connect with Anna Cruise: Facebook & Twitter

Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/oxz2kek

Fifteen year-old Valerie is used to losing things–she lost her dad to his job ages ago and her best friend moved with no warning…and hasn’t been heard from since. During a weekend camping trip with her emotionally distant parents, she stumbles upon a hidden, mysterious stone and she finds herself desperate to keep it, to possess it. Two strange and beautiful boys have other plans, however. They follow her home–Leo, warm and seductive, who covets the stone and will stop at nothing to get it; and Noel, dark-haired and wise, who pledges to protect her and keep her safe.

As she delves deeper into the magic of the stone and the Celtic lore that surrounds it, Valerie realizes that she’s losing. Again. But this loss might involve more than a magical stone – this time, she just might lose her heart.

Golden Blood by Melissa Pearl

Connect with Melissa Pearl: Facebook Twitter Website

Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/nfmtxfq

Gemma Hart never knows when her father is going to whisk her back in time. Her toes start tingling and she has a few minutes to find a secret haven where she can disintegrate and appear in another time and place. While “across the line,” her training and skills are put to the test as she completes a mission that will change history for the lucky few her father has selected.

Gemma’s parents are adamant that secrecy is paramount to her family’s safety. If people knew what they were capable of, they could be “used and abused”, as her mother always says. Afraid she might accidentally utter the truth and break the ancient oath of her people, Gemma spends her school days as a loner. Only one thing can throw her sheltered life askew… Harrison Granger.

Harrison never expected to talk to the strange Hart girl, but after a brief encounter he can’t stop thinking about her. He begins a campaign to chisel away her icy veneer and is met with unexpected consequences. As he slowly wins this girl over, he enters a surreal world that has him fighting to keep his newfound love and his life.

I’ve already reviewed 3/9 of this bundle. For my reviews: Dirty BloodHereReveal. I absolutely love all of these series and have continued them. In the next few weeks I will be reviewing the next 2 books from the Dirty Blood series and the sequel to Here.

Happy reading, 

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