ARC Review: What Goes Up by Katie Kennedy

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Action-packed and wildly funny, this near-future sci-fi features three teens on an inter-dimensional mission to save the world.


Rosa and Eddie are among hundreds of teens applying to NASA’s mysterious Multi-World Agency. After rounds of crazy-competitive testing they are appointed to Team 3, along with an alternate, just in case Eddie screws up (as everyone expects he will). What they don’t expect is that aliens will arrive from another dimension, and look just like us. And no one could even imagine that Team 3 would be the only hope of saving our world from their Earth-destroying plans. The teens steal the spacecraft (it would be great if they knew how to fly it) and head to Earth2, where the aliens’ world and people are just like ours. With a few notable exceptions.

There, the teens will find more than their alternate selves: they’ll face existential questions and high-stakes adventure, with comedy that’s out of this world.

review4/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Bloomsbury Children’s 

+++Triggers: assault 

WHAT’S TO LOVE:

  • STEM GIRLS. Girls who are smart, own their intelligence like a badge of honor, and are proud of who they are. Rosie is a genius and she knows it. She has worked hard to gain her chance at NASA and despite the claims that it’s because of her famous science-y parents, that’s far from the case. Rosie is a clever problem solver who has the quick wit and innovative mind to solve even the craziest of problems. On top of that, she’s one of the bravest, most selfless characters I’ve seen in a long, long time. 
  • The adventure. From the elaborate mental and endurance tests to the actual high-speed chase and stealing alien aircrafts, it’s like those fun puzzle games that you can’t get enough of. It’s interesting, engaging, and definitely keeps you guessing. I loved all of the cool and creative trials the teens had to go through to make it to the final levels for NASA. 
  • Diversity. Yes. Yes. Yes. A lot of diversity. Financial, LGBT, ethnicity. It’s all there and it’s awesome. I loved these characters so much. Initially, it seems like there will be more people involved but it truly comes down to only a handful and they’re all memorable, unique, and bring something great to the storyline. One of my favorite, favorite characters is Eddie’s grandma. The woman is an icon. Fierce, independent, innovative, and speaks her mind. She shot a rocket launcher off her roof, I mean, come on. Everyone has a story. 
  • Romance is subtle. You kind of expect it, but it takes a while and it’s nowhere near a main arc, there are so many things that are much more important and the focus. Plot-driven. 
  • It reads fast. It’s funny and so enjoyable. 

QUESTIONABLE/SO-SO THINGS: 

  • Quick resolution at the end. With Eddie and with the near apocalyptic, almost destruction of Earth 1 thing. While there are epic and action-packed scenes leading up to the ending, it fell flat. It was so fast. Yes, there are terrible and possibly deadly decisions and all sorts of scary things, but still, oh, this super death to all mankind crisis is never going to be seen again without absolute destruction of source? I don’t think so. And while I’m glad there was a happy ending, especially for Eddie, it was too clean.
  • There is an assault scene. I mean, it serves a purpose. There’s clear motive. It adds “excitement” to the first half of the book, but I’m not sure it was the ONLY option and it’s kinda traumatic. I’m sure there are plenty of other ways to disqualify people. 

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

Keep reading, 

Jordan

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ARC Review & Giveaway: Breaking by Danielle Rollins

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Companion novel to Burning.

Prep school gets a twist of supernatural suspense in this commercial YA thriller.

Charlotte has always been content in the shadow of her two best friends at the prestigious Underhill Preparatory Institute. Ariel is daring and mysterious. Devon is beautiful and brilliant. Although Charlotte never lived up to the standards of the school—or her demanding mother—her two best friends became the family she never had. When Ariel and Devon suddenly commit suicide within a month of each other, Charlotte refuses to accept it as a coincidence. But as the clues point to a dangerous secret about Underhill Prep, Charlotte is suddenly in over her head. There’s a reason the students of Underhill are so exceptional, and the people responsible are willing to kill to protect the truth…

Suspenseful and scintillating, with hints of the supernatural, this fast-paced thriller will keep readers hooked.

review

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Bloomsbury USA Children’s

***Triggers violence and suicide. Animal cruelty.

HERE’S WHAT I LOVED:

  • The dark and gritty, almost fairy tale-like quality of Ariel, Devon, and Charlotte. It almost read like magical realism with a sci-fi twist. I adored the dreamy, twisted idea of them being archetypes of fairy tale princesses whose mothers either abandoned or neglected them and all they had was a sisterhood. Yes, that. Yes. 
  • The characters are imperfect. In fact, they aren’t even really likable for the most part. The more Charlotte reminisces about Devon and Ariel, the more cruel and sadistic they seem. Some scenes are truly horrific and disturbing. Like if you love animals…one scene will give you some serious anxiety. I held my breath through that one. The anticipation and fear are too real. Charlotte is one of those characters that you sort of sympathize with, though she does have quite a bit of self-pity. She thinks she’s less attractive, less intelligent, etc., than everyone at her school. There is a total of one scene that shows where that insecurity comes from-the pretty much abusive mind games her mother forced her to play as a child. I wasn’t entirely sold on her character. She was okay. As the story progressed, she did get better. She became rebellious, angry, and a little vicious. Not everything was so black and white. 
  • Mystery definitely propels the plot forward. What at first seems like a string of suicides becomes suspect. What made two girls who were relatively happy and popular kill themselves? There are all sorts of clues and weird incidents that make you question everything. 
  • The ending. Violent, vengeance-fueled, incendiary 😉 it’s sort of evil, but also justified. It was deeply satisfied with the ending. 

HERE’S WHAT I DISLIKED: 

  • The romance. There is so much build up that makes you think it’s something it’s totally not. Something more. Maybe Charlotte is blinded. Whatever. But the reader can see. There’s chemistry sure. And lust, definitely. But anything else, I wasn’t getting any strong emotions, even before the numbness started to set in. 
  • I read Burning. There were several references to things that happened in this book that it kept throwing me off and I flipping through my memory trying to remember anything that might be relevant to the story. There is SO little about what happened in Burning and as a companion where the events that happened in the first book directly influence major plot points, I felt like there should have been more than a few measly clues. 
  • The pacing was a little slow for me. It did pick up but way, way towards the end. Then it’s just crazy action and violence and all sorts of chaos. 

authorDanielle (1)

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Author of the best-selling MERCILESS series, SURVIVE THE NIGHT, BURNING, and BREAKING. I’m currently working on the last installment of the Merciless books, & starting a new series to be announced later this year.

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Enter for your chance to win a finished copy of Breaking. US ONLY.

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Read more, 

Jordan

Review & Giveaway: The Game of Lives by James Dashner

THE GAME OF LIVES bangame of lives coverAmazon/Barnes & Noble/Goodreads/iBooks

Praise for the Mortality Doctrine Series 

 “Dashner takes full advantage of the Matrix-esque potential for asking ‘what is real.”

–io9.com

“Set in a world taken over by virtual reality gaming, the series perfectly capture[s] Dashner’s hallmarks for inventiveness, teen dialogue and an ability to add twists and turns like no other author.”

–MTV.com

“A brilliant, visceral, gamified mash-up of The Matrix and Inception, guaranteed to thrill even the non-gaming crowd.”

Christian Science Monitor

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From James Dashner, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, comes the final book in the Mortality Doctrine series, an edge-of-your-seat cyber-adventure trilogy that includes The Eye of Minds and The Rule of Thoughts

Includes a sneak peek of The Fever Code, the highly anticipated conclusion to the Maze Runner series–the novel that finally reveals how the Maze was built! 

Michael used to live to game, but now, the games are over. The VirtNet has become a world of deadly consequences, and cyber terrorist Kaine grows stronger by the day. The Mortality Doctrine–Kaine’s master plan–has nearly been realized, and little by little the line separating the virtual from the real is blurring. If Kaine succeeds, it will mean worldwide cyber domination. And it looks like Michael and his friends are the only ones who can put the monster back in the box–if Michael can figure out who his friends really are.

The author who brought you the #1 New York Times bestselling MAZE RUNNER series and two #1 movies–The Maze Runner and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials–now brings you an electrifying adventure trilogy that takes you into a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyber terrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares.review

THINGS I LOVED:

  • The concept. It’s complex and energetic. The lines between virtual reality and real life have blurred so well that even those who think they’re human are fooled. Code is so advanced that consciousness is connected to chunks of data that form virtual people sans bodies and “real” people seriously cannot tell the difference. It’s epic and terrifying at the same time.
  • BODY SNATCHING. Usually this is a thing for aliens but holy horror, tech that can invade your brain and force you out into this beast of collective consciousness called The Hive where all these poor souls without bodies are forced to hang out. WHAT??!! Let’s hope this doesn’t become our reality. So scary. 
  • It makes you think. James Dashner is particularly skilled at crafting compelling concepts that make the reader question mankind, the role of technology, and how humanity adapts to these intense and dire changes. As evidenced in Maze Runner, but even more so in this world of advanced tech.
  • Kaine is an evil genius. Totally vicious. If you love a good villain, he’s your guy. Cyber terrorism. Relatable and relevant. 

THINGS THAT IRKED ME:

  • The pacing. For an action-centered, high intensity idea with loads of danger and psychotic people hungry to destroy/take over the world, it was so slow at points that I felt the urge to skim and skim and skim again. Some of the description was a little much, which is weird for me because I’m a huge Tolkien fan and description for DAYS but I guess it wasn’t so much the existence but it how it was done in the book.
  • The dialogue. Some of the phrasing was dated or weird, I found myself raising an eyebrow at some of what these teenagers said. The dialogue also dragged on. The sentences were clunky and hanging and the whole vibe of the pretty much every bit of dialogue felt forced. The banter and ease was missing. 

authorjames-dashner-photo-credit-mary-wood

James Dashner was born and raised in Georgia but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains. He is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series: The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order. His newest series is The Mortality Doctrine: The Eye of Minds, The Rule of Thoughts, and The Game of Lives.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram

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5 winners will receive paperback sets of the whole series (EYE OF MINDS/RULE OF THOUGHTS/GAME OF LIVES), US Only.

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Happy reading, 

Jordan

Guest Post & Giveaway: When Planets Fall by Abby J. Reed

WHEN PLANETS FALLWHEN PLANETS FALL (2)Website | Facebook | Twitter |Pinterest | Instagram | Tumblr | Goodreads

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On a planet where the only difference between three tribes is their blood color, war is on the horizon. Breaker, an amputee, wants peace for his family and home. Malani, a kidnapped POW, wants to return home. Luka wants justice for his home. All three teens come together when Breaker is given seven days to fix a wrecked enemy starship or their home, and peace, is forfeit.

“In this richly imagined start to a new sci-fi series, Reed brings optimism to the goal of solving entrenched violence in a galaxy far, far away . . . A propulsive, sharply crafted tale about a planetary war.” –Kirkus Reviews

guest

Welcome to Scarlatti! Welcome to the planet of blood. Here’s a quick tour of who’s who. Remember, If you run into anyone in the neutral zone, make sure to ask bloodcon, needlick to take the blood test. Don’t want to risk killing someone from your own tribe:

The Eliks:

The Eliks have blue blood and live in the east. Their fortress is made from a rock found in their mines that gives it a glass-like look. They are the most different from the rest of the tribes as they actually have a couple other slight differences. Their skin is thicker, so a direct hit is needed to penetrate, and they have a shorter pregnancy terms that ends in an egg-like embryo. But they look the same as everyone else on the planet.

Their art is more ornate, seeing beauty in geometric designs and tiny details. Their religion plays a heavier role in their society than the others, too. Their language is heavier, which makes Malani speak with more of an accent. They have joint rulers, a king and queen, that we see from a distance. They fight the least with everyone as they don’t like to come down from their mountain often.

The Herons:
The Herons have green blood and live on the western side of the valley, in the mountains. They are considered to be the cruelest of the three tribes and have the reputation for their love of science. Their language is beautiful, almost song-like. They love smooth, sleek lines, finding beauty in simplicity. That’s why their fortress is cylinder shape, with spokes running deeper into the mountain. It’s simple, and therefore beautiful.

Their religion is similar to the Eliks, in that they share the same creation myths. But religion doesn’t play nearly as much of a role in their society. They currently have a king, King Oma, who sees Humans as a nuisance. The Herons also fight more with the Humans than the Eliks, and there’s more tension between these two tribes than anyone else.

The Humans:

Humans are, well, us, but way in the future. They have red blood and live between the other two tribes in the valley. Chief Malvyn currently leads them. They live in the compound where they’ve developed more of a monoethnic “compound look”. Brown curly hair, darker skin, brown eyes. But since many in the other tribes share these characteristics, they aren’t much help in identification.

Humans see themselves in a very different light than the other two tribes. To give more info would be spoilery 😉

authorabbyWebsite | Facebook | Twitter |Pinterest | Instagram | Tumblr | Goodreads

Abby J. Reed writes young adult science fiction and fantasy novels that ask what if. She has a degree in English Writing and is drawn to characters with physical limitations due to her own neurological disorder called Chronic Migraine. Her debut novel, WHEN PLANETS FALL, will be published in April 2017 by Soul Mate Publishing.

Abby lives in Colorado with her husband and two fluffy pups. If her hands aren’t on the keyboard, they are stained purple and blue with paint.

giveaway1 winner will receive a signed paperback of WHEN PLANETS FALL, & Swag, US Only.

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Awesome reading, 

Jordan

Cover Reveal: Omega by Jus Accardo

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Release date: August 1, 2017

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One mistake can change everything. Ashlyn Calvert finds that out the hard way when a bad decision leads to the death of her best friend, Noah Anderson.

Only Noah isn’t really gone. Thanks to his parents’ company, the Infinity Division, there is a version of him skipping from one dimension to another, set on revenge for the death of his sister, Kori. When a chance encounter brings him face-to-face with Ash, he’s determined to resist the magnetic pull he’s felt for her time and time again. Because falling for Ash puts his mission—and their lives—in danger.

authorjus-accardoWebsite/Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Goodreads

JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. But at the last minute, she realized her true path lay with fiction, not food.

Jus is the bestselling author of the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing, as well as the Darker Agency series, and the New Adult series, The Eternal Balance. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.

Epic reading, 

Jordan

Release Day Blitz: The Lilac Sky by Diana Gardin

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“Do you hear me, Isla? Survive.”

Those are the last words seventeen-year-old Isla hears from her parents. She’s placed into a cylinder craft and catapulted through space, saying goodbye to them and her precious, dying Earth.

Crash-landing on a foreign planet, Isla stumbles into a striking Troman warrior, Rygen. He is shocked to discover a human deep in the jungles of his planet but with his home in political turmoil, he has no desire to assist the weak creature.

Knowing that she’ll never survive without them, Isla convinces Rygen and his comrades to escort her, but she has no time to catch her breath. The dangerous journey navigating the rugged, lush terrain of Troma with the strong and brooding Rygen is only the beginning of Isla’s battle.

Isla never dreamed her very existence would threaten to throw the foreign planet into a gruesome revolution. Hunted by radicals as she discovers her dormant powerful Gift, Isla fights not only for survival but also for the her heart’s true desire. But only time will tell if she can truly endure on a hostile planet where her kind just doesn’t fit.

teaser

Excerpt“Where are we?” Curiosity coats my tone as I glance at Ebin.

He’s staring at the doors. “This is my family’s apartment.”

Surprise causes me to reel back a step. “And why are we here?”

His eyes narrow as he scans my face. “I am not sure.”

Placing my hands on the doors, I trace the ornate markings with my fingers. The doors capture me, pulling me toward them with the force of their very being. I move closer as I feel vibrations beneath my fingertips, a song that only the bronze metal knows.

I lean my cheek against the cool metallic covering, feeling the rhythms under my skin.
Inside my soul.

My lips part and I whisper a song I never even knew I had inside me.

The words flow seamlessly from my lips to the doors, as if I’d known the lyrics all my life. And when I’m done, the door disappears, giving me entrance into Ebin’s apartment.

I step back, astonishment filling me up until I’m in danger of bursting.
“What the heck did I just do?” My whisper drifts around in the fog of my unexpected accomplishment.

Ebin steps up beside me. When I look at him, the expression on his face is one of wonder. Of shock. Of awe.

“You just gained un-permitted entry into my home. With your voice.”

authorDiana GardinFACEBOOK/TWITTER/GOODREADS/WEBSITE

Diana Gardin is the author of Romance in a multitude of age ranges and genres. Her works include the Ashes Series, the Nelson Island Series, and the Battle Scars series. Upcoming works include the Rescue Ops Series (Battle Scars spinoff coming in June 2017) and The Lilac Sky (The Troma Chronicles Book 1).

Diana loved writing at a young age, but decided to try and make a career out of it in 2012 while staying home with her first child. When she’s not writing, you can usually find Diana watching one of her Netflix Obsessions, spending time with her family, or drinking wine with friends.

Magical reading, 

Jordan

Book/TV Show Blitz & Giveaway by Kass Morgan

I am so excited that THE 100 returns to TV tonight! And to help celebrate the show’s return Little Brown Books For Young Readers and Rockstar Book Tours are giving away 5 Boxed Sets of the complete series!  

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All four thrilling novels in The 100 series, now available in a paperback
boxed set! 
 
Ever since nuclear war destroyed our planet, humanity has been living on
city-like spaceships hovering above the toxic surface. As far as anyone knows,
no one has stepped foot on Earth in centuries–that is, until one hundred
juvenile delinquents are sentenced to return and recolonize the hostile land.
The future of the human race rests in their hands, but nothing can prepare the
100 for what they find on this strange and savage planet. 

 

Read the series that inspired the hit TV show. The 100, Day 21,
Homecoming, and Rebellion are gathered together for the first time in this
striking box set, perfect for fans and series newcomers alike.

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author

Kass Morgan studied literature at Brown and Oxford, and now resides in Brooklyn, where she lives in constant fear of her Ikea bookcase collapsing and burying her under a mound of science fiction and Victorian novels. Kass is currently working on the sequel to The 100, which she’ll finish as soon as she finds a coffee shop that
allows laptops on the weekend.
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5 winners will receive the complete boxed set of THE 100 Series, US Only.
 
Ends on February 8th at Midnight EST!

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Thrilling reading, 
Jordan