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If you had the power to visit other people’s dreams, what would you do? Jason seeks out the dreams of people who are distressed, aiming to talk to them in the dreamscape, preventing them from harming themselves or others. Alyss has had a difficult time in life, but with the help of Jason, can she bring herself to start over?

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Dream-walker With Other Stories and Poems by Teresa J. Crider

Dream-walker With Other Stories and Poems

by Teresa J. Crider

Giveaway ends March 28, 2018.

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Uglies (Uglies #1)-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

Rating: 5/5

It has been more than 10 years since I have read this series by Scott Westerfeld. I have now read it for second time, and my opinion is still the same: this book is amazing! The characters are interesting and dynamic, the plot relates to a topic that many tend to talk about today, the writing is superb, and this novel shows people what it means to find who you are and not what society dictates you to be. I grew up with the old cover (right), and I absolutely love that cover, in addition to the fact that you cannot find the first edition in bookstores anymore, unless you happen across one at a used bookstore.

If you are new to the world of Uglies, I share with you some of the well-crafted characters and plot.

Tally Youngblood is an Ugly and she is counting down the days until her 16th birthday, when she gets the surgery to be a Pretty. When she meets a girl named Shay, Tally is excited to have found a friend, but also put off by the girl’s this disinterest in becoming a Pretty. With Shay, Tally learns about natural beauty, that being a Pretty isn’t necessarily all that it’s cooked up to be. But it takes her a long time to discover this.

When invited to run away from surgery day with Shay, Tally denies the opportunity, still excited to become a Pretty. But a Special Circumstance prevents Tally from being allowed to have her long-awaited surgery. Tally is asked by a unique, intelligent group of Pretties, called Specials, to find where Shay went, and to draw the Specials to The Smoke, a hiding place of Uglies who do not wish to conform to the mandates of society.

Upon joining the Uglies of The Smoke, Tally meets David and learns the meaning of true beauty and loving oneself. Upon meeting David’s parents, Tally learns secrets about the Pretty surgery that have her questioning the society she has grown up in. Now Tally aims to fight, to change the dystopia she lives in, a world of perfect beauty where people cannot think for themselves, a world of corrupt societal values.

So why did I read this book again? While there are many many books in my collection that I wish to read again, there are so many books and so little time, making rereading anything an absolute challenge. But this is a book I love so much that I had been dying to reread, to revisit Tally, The Smoke, and Uglyville. To revisit a society that makes you perfect when you turn 16. The time is ripe, whether you are reading this for the first time, the second, or the tenth, because Westerfeld has announced a four book series taking place years after the Uglies series, based in the same world. With one book coming out each year, starting 2018 to 2021, it is exciting for new and old fans of the series alike.

Be sure to check out the Uglies graphic novels as well, which add to the depth and perspective of the world–Uglies: Shay’s Story and Uglies: Cutters.

Gemina (Illuminae Files #2)-Should You Read It?

Related imageGenre: Young Adult Science-fiction/Space/Visual

Rating: 4.5/5

Not a full 5/5, but only because it felt a bit slower than Illuminae and not paced quite as well, but definitely still an amazing book! If you haven’t picked this series up yet, make that the next thing on your to-do list!

While Kady and Ezra fight off the Lincoln and fend for their lives against the AI AIDAN, Niklas and Hanna prepare for Terra Day on jump station Heimdall.

A day of celebration quickly takes a turn for the worst when a crew from BeiTech, sent by Leanne Forbisher, aim to destroy any evidence that leads back to the BeiTech attack on Kerenza IV. This team not only aims to take over the jump station, but will terminate anyone who gets in their way. Making preparations for the Kennedy fleet, a drone fleet that will eventually be the clean-up crew to destroy Heimdall, the BeiTech team kills the commander, tampers with the wormhole that allows for hyperspace jumps, and aims to kill Hanna, the troublesome daughter of the Heimdall commander.

When Hanna’s boyfriend turns out to be something he’s not, she turns to Niklas, a Russian gang member with a past full of crime. Not to mention the fact that Niklas likes Hanna, to no avail (yet?). With the help of Niklas’s cousin, the two fight their way through the jump station to take out the BeiTech crew. Did I mention there is a parasite type creature that has been killing a bunch of people as well? Yeah, that’s a thing, and Kaufman and Kristoff nail the biology of the creature excellently.Image result for gemina

The whole time, the reader is left with countdown pages, one for when the Hypatia (remember that ship?) will arrive at Heimdall, and one when the Kennedy Assault Fleet will arrive, adding tension and anticipation for the reader. The science of this novel is intriguing and realistic, possibly even accurate, when talking about wormholes and alternate dimensions, that is.

Along the journey, the reader is also gifted with beautiful illustrations by Marie Lu (author of The Young Elites trilogy, the Legend trilogy, Warcross, and Batman: Nightwalker). These illustrations consist of Hanna’s journal, originally a gift from her father, an item that is hard to come by so far from the core systems.

Masterfully crafted, the paperback edition comes with some extra Illuminae Files at the end, which was pretty fun. The only thing that really made this book go slower than the first one was that there were a huge amount of video surveillance sections (meaning more like regular prose) in comparison to texts, vocal chat, e-mail, or images, which slowed the reading down. Kaufman and Kristoff did well with spreading out these chapters for the most part, but there was still a huge amount of them. Overall, this was a fantastic read, highly recommended to all, because this novel series really redefines the term “novel” for contemporary readers and writers. Obsidio awaits!

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Frostfire (Kanin Chronicles #1)-Should You Read It?

Image result for frostfire hockingGenre: Young Adult Fantasy/Romance

Rating: 4/5

In the world of the Trylle…

Bryn Aven doesn’t really fit in to Kanin society. She is a tracker, one who finds changelings put out of society as babies, bringing them back to the Kanin society where they belong. With her newest find, a changeling who could end up taking the throne due to his bloodline, Bryn continues to do her job diligently.

Konstantin Black still haunts her memories, a man who seemingly tried to kill her father many years ago, a man she once loved. When She discovers that Konstantin is abducting changelings, Bryn finds that she must do everything in her power to stop this man, and find out why he once tried to murder her father. With a one-track mind to become a member of the King’s elite guard, Bryn constantly does her job while trying to prove herself, but personal queries get in the way, not to mention a (forbidden?) romance between her and her older boss, Ridley Dresden.

A bit about this book: it takes place in the same world as the Trylle Trilogy, Switched, Torn, and Ascend, books I have heard of but have not yet read. I jumped into this book knowing nothing, having won it in a Goodreads giveaway. From the title and the cover alone, it seems like a high fantasy novel, and there are definitely those elements withing. What I was not expecting were modern cities and cars and things as such, which was a bit disappointing to what I thought this book would be. Despite this, it was still a relatively interesting story, for the most part.

The main character, Bryn, seems to not take others opinions into consideration, following her own opinions and ideas without thinking about consequences to others. As a character, she was a bit bland, and the development was lacking. Ridley and Konstantin seemed more interesting and, although secondary to Bryn’s first person perspective, they seemed to have more character development. The writing itself is actually crafted well, the beauty of the prose heightening the progression and reading experience of the story.

Was this book good enough to recommend to others? I think it is for a pretty specific audience. Will I read the next one? Maybe. I haven’t decided yet, but it was a good enough read to have my interest piqued in Ice Kissed.

Otherworld-Should You Read It?

Image result for otherworld segelGenre: Young Adult Science-fiction

Rating: 4/5

Yet another work to add to the collective media of online gaming. This book falls into a similar category as James Dashner’s The Mortality Doctrine trilogy, Marie Lu’s Warcross, and Earnest Cline’s Ready Player One. In terms of anime, it would fall under the Sword Art Online, .hack//, and Log Horizon category. It seems like there is a lot of stuff out there with this genre, doesn’t it? So what makes this novel stand out more so than others? What makes this novel not a repeat of everything we have already read and seen in the genre?

In the very first chapter, the reader is immersed in Otherworld, a game owned by The Company, a company that generally owns anything and everything of life-changing proportions anyway. When Simon wins a test set of Virtual Reality gear for Otherworld, a gaming piece worth thousands of dollars, his father finds his gaming to be consuming his life when he is highly capable of doing other things. In a rage, his father destroys the VR system, and that’s the end of that (not something I was expecting to happen right off the bat). Simon has been shipped off to boarding school before, roomed with an amazing hacker, and taken the heat for some hacks that have happened. Now his hacker friend is a major asset, but Simon is back to regular high school.

For years he has lived across the forest from his childhood friend, Kat, who he has developed romantic feelings for over the years. Unfortunately, her step-father is a terrible person and might be up to some shady stuff behind the scenes. When it seems like Kat is up to some things that are out of character, new classmate Busara tells Simon to watch out. With this knowledge, Simon follows Kat to a party where everything seems fine, until a strange explosion removes the floor of the old Elmer’s factory, and someone did it on purpose, hoping for it to look like an accident.

The Company visits Kat in the hospital, explaining that she cannot return to consciousness, but they are developing a new type of Virtual Reality that allows those who cannot return from beyond their own consciousness to partake in Otherworld, to vividly feel, and smell everything in the Virtual World. Disclaimer (and here’s the part that is cliche): if a person is using this new tech and they die in the game, their body actually dies in real life because of the feeling of reality. The brain is tricked into death. When Simon notices something odd about Kat’s behavior, he investigates The Company with some assistance from his hacker friend and Busara, aiming to find out the truth behind the so-called accidents that are happening all across the state. Between using the new VR tech for himself and being pulled back to reality to find and save Kat (the new tech can only be removes by someone else), Simon has a lot to do. He meets a number of people in Otherworld who likewise have the same VR treatment, people who were in supposed “accidents.”

Simon faces some of the things we know and love about video games, such as bosses who rule over a certain domain. The various domains are ruled by different boss-type creatures, but many of the creatures in the game are developing themselves, a strong artificial intelligence that is becoming truly sentient, and they want the people out of their world.

One of the things that makes this book interesting is how it goes back and forth between the world of the game and that of reality. It is also interesting that the realms are put together in a way that is very reminiscent of video games today, but the appeal of the VR for a person to become whoever they want and do whatever they want in Otherworld is a nice feature. As far as collaborative writing goes, Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller have done a fine job to set the tone and the pace. The mystery behind The Company is interesting, and I want to know more about what The Company is trying to do and how Simon, Kat, and Busara are going to stop them from killing more people for their own gains.

While it does feel slightly repetitive to the aforementioned books and animes, this novel was engaging and different enough for me to want to keep reading. I was very drawn into the world and the overarching plot with the mysteries behind The Company, and I am greatly looking forward to the next installment. I would highly recommend for someone who enjoys these video game immersing genre works for sure, but perhaps not so much for those who are not a fan of the genre or perhaps are unfamiliar with any of the books/animes mentioned previously. If you have read/seen any of those and like them, this definitely has that similar feel if you cannot get enough of the video game world!

Renegades-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Young Adult/Superhero

Rating: 4/5

If you enjoy superheroes, take a dive into Renegades, a novel placed in a world where prodigy’s–those with power–might be born with, or might obtain through a traumatic event, their unique abilities. In this world, there are many prodigies; some choose to become a Renegade, while others join the faction of Anarchy, the difference between training their abilities for good or evil, but it’s all about perspective.

The main players in this novel are Nova, Anarchy alias “Nightmare” Renegade alias “Insomnia,” and Adrian, Renegade alias “Sketch,” and self proclaimed “Sentinel.” Nova has a grudge against the Renegades because her parents were murdered by a band of low-life prodigies, and the Renegades didn’t come to help. This anger intensifies when Nova finds out that Captain Chromium himself was nearby on patrol the night of her parents deaths. To bring down the Renegades and restore what was once the Age of Anarchy, Nova and fellow Anarchists Ingrid, Leroy, and Honey, among others, aim to infiltrate Renegades headquarters and dig up enough information to bring the Renegades down.

Adrian, adopted by Captain Chromium and the Dread Warden, has the power to bring his drawings to life, but it is about the intention of the drawing that makes it real. When he comes across Nova during a celebratory parade featuring the Renegades and their accomplishments for overthrowing the Age of Anarchy, he draws a clasp onto her special bracelet after being stolen by a child, making the bracelet real. Nova doesn’t recognize him until her mission to infiltrate the Renegade headquarters commences, and he does not recognize her as Nova, who he seeks as the Sentinel for the mysterious death of his mother.

Nova, with the ability to put people to sleep through touch, never sleeps, and she uses this guise in the trial to become a Renegade, hoping to be chosen by a team. Selected by Adrian’s Renegade team, Nova is dubbed “Insomnia,” since she never sleeps, but they do not know her true power or identity. As she grows closer to Adrian’s team, she learns how the tragic experiences of some have turned them into prodigies.

When a patrol mission to stake out the Librarian, an prodigy who can remember anything and who sells mass weapons to the anarchists, turns Nova to fear for her resource and her identity, she is double-crossed by the Detonator of the Anarchists, pulling off one plan to lead the Renegades astray when they had something else planned. This leads Nova to question the Anarchists, but the Renegades didn’t save her family, when they are meant to be heroes of the city.

Later, Nova finds out about Adrian’s brother, a child locked away in quarantine who has the ability to take other prodigies powers away. When she learns of his telekinetic abilities, she questions everything she knows about the Age of Anarchy and the Renegades. More and more secrets unfold, romance blossoms, and now Nova must look into herself and decide whether she is a Renegade or and Anarchist and why.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. At first, I felt like it was super generic, like X-men or Captain America or some such overdone superhero story. While it does have some of those elements we see across Marvel and DC, it has its own unique twists as well. People with powers are called prodigies, and while some are born with abilities, others gain them through a life-or-death traumatic experience, seeming to gain the ability when they are close to death or, maybe, die. The pacing was quick and laid out well, with something exciting around every corner. The character development on the initial characters was done well, but second and tertiary characters were slightly lacking, but still had some juicy moments. The writing is better than some of Meyer’s other works (I’m really just thinking of Heartless here) and the plot has a formulaic superhero plot with a few subplots and twisted paths that continue to open new doors about the world to the reader. The first in a duology, I would highly recommend that YES you should read this book, especially if you are into the superhero genre. The secrets and the lies that are kept by the characters really bring this novel to life and have the reader itching for the moment when a certain character will find out this or that.