The Body Electric by Beth Revis

The Body Electric by Beth Revis“What if eternity is nothing more than me, alone, in the darkness?”

Ella Shepherd is able to enter people’s dreams and memories using the technology that her mother created. The government finds out what she can do and asks her to spy on a rebel group. The only problem is, the leader of the rebel group knows her and claims that he and she were once in love. Ella has no memory of this and realizes that somebody has been inside her head and erased her memories. Now she can no longer trust anything in her own mind because she doesn’t know if it was real or planted there by someone.

After reading the Across the Universe series, I will read anything that Beth Revis writes. This book did not disappoint me! Ella is able to use the machines that her mother built to go inside people’s mind and by doing so can access their dreams and memories. When the government recruits her to look into the mind a man suspected of being a rebel, she is a little nervous. When she sees a name in his head, it leads her to a boy who claims to have been romantically involved with her. When evidence in his favor begins to pile up, Ella realizes that she has to find out who erased her memories, and why.

I loved the world building in this book. Ella lives on a bridge between two islands. The bridge is miles and miles long, big enough that an entire city is built on it. Underneath the city is the lower class part of the city, which is basically a floating city that is made up of individuals boats. In this futuristic world people have androids, who do all sorts of jobs like cleaning, vending, and nursing. The rebel group is made up of the lower class, who are sick of living in decrepit conditions on their floating city while the upper class lives in luxury with androids doing everything for them. When Ella finds out about her memory being erased, she is suddenly thrown in the middle of a war she didn’t even know was happening.

I loved all of the medical elements of this book–Ella’s parents’ research, especially her father’s, and the ethical questions that both raise. I also really loved how this tied into the Across the Universe series–it’s actually set in the same world, but still on Earth.

Overall, The Body Electric was an exciting and interesting read. Beth Revis has definitely made me a fan for life and I can’t wait to read what she writes next!

The Body Electric was released on October 6, 2014.

One Past Midnight by Jessica Shirvington

One Past Midnight by Jessica ShirvingtonSabine has lived two lives for as long as she can remember. She lives each day and then switches at midnight to her other life where she lives the same day over as a different person. She has the same name in both lives and lives in the same area, yet has a completely different family and set of friends in each life. In one life, she her family is wealthy, yet Sabine has to fake her personality to stay with her crowd at school and please her parents. In the other life, she hates her parents and the fact that they are poor, but loves her little sister unconditionally.

It had always seemed like a rule that if she got sick or injured in one life she would still be sick or injured in the other life when she switched over. One day, when Sabine sprains her wrist in one life and her wrist remains perfectly fine in the other, she realizes that the rules might be changing and she may be able to pick one life to stay in once and for all. She begins to conduct experiments to determine if it would be possible to kill herself in one life and remain in the other.

This book was really interesting! It reminded me of that movie Sliding Doors. Sabine is unhappy in both of her lives for different reasons. In one life she loves her sister but hates being poor and in the other life she loves her family’s wealth but hates her fake personality. When she realizes she may be able to pick one, it seems to her that the obvious answer would be the wealthy, privileged life, but she cannot bear the thought of never seeing her little sister again.

When Sabine meets Ethan in one life, he begins to seem like the only person who may be able to help her and the only one who she may be able to convince of her situation. He begins to help her to see the good things about each life, and that choosing between them might not be the best solution. Sabine begins to realize that her situation may be different, but that doesn’t necessarily make it bad.

One Past Midnight was a great story that blended contemporary and science fiction genres.  It was very well written and is actually a standalone novel!

One Past Midnight was published May 1, 2013.

Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund“We can only be responsible for what we ourselves do.”

Persis Blake publicly plays the role of a rich socialite, spending time at parties discussing clothes and gossip. But in her private life, she is the Wild Poppy, a notorious spy who rescues people of Galatea from being Reduced and sneaks them over to the island of Albion, where she resides. When Justen Helo, a medic from Galatea, finds her ill after one of her missions and helps her return home, she decides to keep him close so that she can discover his true motives in Albion. What she didn’t expect was how she would begin to feel for him, and how much she would wish she could tell him the truth about who she is.

Across a Star-Swept Sea is actually a companion novel to For Darkness Shows the Stars. While you don’t need to read the first book in order to understand this one, it definitely helps because some characters from that book reappear in this one. I absolutely loved the first book, and the second was just as good.

This book is actually a retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel, which I haven’t read but definitely want to after reading this one. Persis has always been very intelligent and has had a bright future ahead of her, but when her best friend Isla’s family is killed and Isla is made acting queen of Albion, Persis abandons school and her future in order to help her friend. She creates the Wild Poppy in order to help Isla make a difference while the council of Albion prevents Isla from actually doing anything politically about the rebellion in Galatea. In Galatea, the rulers are Reducing people–basically giving them a drug that makes them lose their mental capacities. The Wild Poppy saves these people who are Reduced and brings them to Albion to recover.

Justen Helo decides to abandon Galatea when he realizes what is really going on. He sees Persis as nothing more than a flaky socialite however, and doesn’t realize how much of a difference she is actually making. He begins to work in the lab, trying to find a cure for the Reduced, and tries to keep from Persis how involved he really was in the rebellion in Galatea. Persis uses the image she created for herself as a ditzy socialite to keep people from finding out that she is really the Wild Poppy, but unfortunately it keeps Justen, the one person whom she may actually want to be herself with, from seeing who she really is.

Peterfreund does a brilliant job building the world of New Pacifica. Her descriptions paint a vivid world and by doing so she creates an intricate and compelling story that you can’t put down. The flutternotes were the most interesting detail for me–little holographic notes that basically fly from one person to another through the air and then deliver a message to them via an electronic device on their palm. Every detail of this story was fascinating and unique and added a great sci-fi aspect to the plot.

Overall, Across a Star-Swept Sea was a fascinating story with great world building and beautiful writing. I look forward to reading more stories about New Pacifica!

Across a Star-Swept Sea was released on October 15, 2013 and is a companion novel to For Darkness Shows the Stars.

Adaptation by Malinda Lo

Adaptation by Malinda Lo“People are always going to think something about you that isn’t real. It doesn’t matter what they think.”

Reese is on a debate team field trip with her longtime crush David when disaster strikes. All over the country, flocks of birds fly into the engines of planes, causing them to crash and killing thousands. Since the government grounds all of the flights from then on, Reese and David rent a car and decide to drive home to San Francisco from their trip in Arizona. When a bird flies straight at their car and causes them to crash somewhere near Area 51, Reese thinks that they will both be killed. However, they wake up in a military hospital in Nevada, miraculously healed of all injuries. They are forbidden to speak of their treatment and are sent home to their parents, where things seem to have changed in their absence.

This book started off really great but quickly went downhill. The whole concept seemed really interesting–I found myself really interested in the whole idea of a government cover up and I couldn’t wait to find out the real reason behind the airplane crashes. However, midway through the book the whole thing fell apart and I found myself not really caring about the main character or the cover up at all.

Reese was kind of an annoying character. She has this completely weird aversion to relationships because of her parents divorce–she tells herself she will never be in a relationship with anyone. Yeah, not really a healthy thought. So she tries to ignore her feelings for David and then completely wigs out when he seems to show some interest in her. After they get in the accident and are told that they have to sign a bunch of paperwork stating that their treatment is confidential and they are not allowed to talk about it, Reese does so with very little resistance. Um, what? Some random people in the middle of nowhere heal you from near death and then tell you that you can’t talk about it, and you just…sign paperwork agreeing to this? At least try a little harder to find out why!!

What bugged me most about this book though was how much of it seemed contrived and out of place. I felt like the book switched genres halfway through and went from a sci-fi/apocalyptic type story to contemporary romance and then back again. The whole middle of the book was about Reese’s relationship with a random girl she meets named Amber, and while I understood the whole new love/discovery of oneself and all that stuff (which was actually really well done writing-wise), it just seemed out of place in the story. Once Amber came into the story, a good chunk of the book seemed more of a contemporary coming of age story and then dove right back into the sci-fi stuff. Also, the whole thing with Amber was very predictable from the start.

Overall, Adaptation started off good but then quickly failed to hold my attention. It had a lot of potential but unfortunately just flopped in my opinion.

Adaptation was released on September 18, 2012 and is the first book in the Adaptation series.

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepard“Sometimes you have to embrace the darkness to stop it.”

Juliet Moreau escaped her father’s island and returned to London. She is trying to rebuild her old life and forget about her father and the secrets she left behind on the island, but when people she knows begin to get murdered in an all too familiar way, she fears that the secrets have caught up with her after all.

The Madman’s Daughter was both creepy and amazing, so I was very excited to read this sequel, which is basically a retelling of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. While this was definitely a great follow up to the first book, Juliet herself annoyed me a bit in this one.

People that have previously wronged Juliet begin to die, and they are killed the same way that the victims on the island were murdered. Juliet begins to think that Edward followed her back to England, and she is worried that the monster part of him has taken control. At the same time, Juliet is still pining over Montgomery, who admitted to caring for her but then stayed on the island rather than coming back to London with her.

It was Juliet’s back and forth between Edward and Montgomery that annoyed me in this book. I didn’t mind the love triangle in the first book because it was easy to see how Juliet could be torn between the two, but in this book it got to be a little bit too much. She literally bounces back and forth between the two and constantly feels guilty about it. Instead of just not involving herself with either man until she figures out what she really wants, she basically gets the best of both worlds for awhile at the expense of both of their feelings.

However, other than this problem, I really loved the rest of the book. Juliet is trying to solve these murders and at the same time is trying to figure out how to make a new serum to keep her condition from ruining her life. She basically sets up her own chemistry lab in a little room and tries over and over to replicate the serum that her father invented. I liked how she was able to throw herself back into her old life in society yet keep her independence by sneaking out at night to experiment.

I also loved seeing Edward’s constant conflict with the monster that lives within him. It’s easy to understand Juliet’s own inner conflict when it comes to Edward–on the outside he is a kind and respectful man who adores her, yet inside him lurks another being that enjoys killing and will stop at nothing to gain control. She is torn about what to do with him because she doesn’t want to hurt him, yet doesn’t want the Beast to hurt anyone else.

Overall, I enjoyed Her Dark Curiosity even though the love triangle bothered me a bit. I’m excited to see how this will all end in the final book.

Her Dark Curiosity was released on January 28, 2014 and is the second book in The Madman’s Daughter trilogy. The final book, A Cold Legacy is expected to be released in 2015.

The Girl with the Windup Heart by Kady Cross

The Girl with the Windup Heart by Kady CrossMila has been spending the last few months with Jack Dandy, learning how to be a real girl and live in society. When he breaks her heart she runs away and joins the circus, determined to be independent. While Jack is trying to find her and bring her home, Griffin King is captured by Garibaldi and taken into the Aether. Finley, desperate to rescue him, temporarily dies in order to go into the Aether and bring him back.

I loved this book! It is the final installment in The Steampunk Chronicles, which is bittersweet because I’m really going to miss these characters. Everything finally gets wrapped up in this last book, and Griffin finally faces down Garibaldi for the last time.

My favorite thing about this book was that it was centered around my favorite character: Jack Dandy. I’ve loved Jack since the first book, mainly because of his complex character. There is much more to Jack than meets the eye, and he hides his true self behind the criminal persona he allows other people to see. In this book we finally find out why Jack is the way he is and we get a closer look at the real Jack Dandy.

Mila is another great character, and her interactions with Jack were great. She’s able to bring out Jack’s true self, and he allows himself to be vulnerable around her. She is incredibly strong and smart, and when she begins to fall for Jack he realizes he cannot allow that to happen because he believes that she deserves better. I really loved their story and the way Mila refused to let Jack treat her like a child.

Meanwhile, Finley is trying desperately to save Griffin from the Aether. Garibaldi imprisons and tortures Griffin, and Finley must temporarily die in order to enter the Aether to find him. The whole group bands together to try and defeat Garibaldi once and for all, and make sure that Griffin does not get killed in the process. In order to defeat Garibaldi, Griffin must face the magnitude of his ability, something he has been afraid of his whole life.

Overall, The Girl with the Windup Heart was a great final installment in The Steampunk Chronicles. I loved Jack and Mila’s story and the way the series ended, but I will miss these characters very much!

The Girl with the Windup Heart will be released on May 27, 2014.

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress by Marissa MeyerCinder and Captain Thorne are on the run in a stolen spaceship, and they have teamed up with Scarlet and Wolf in order to overthrow Queen Levana. In order to do this, they must seek help from Cress, a girl who has been imprisoned on a satellite since she was a child. Cress is an excellent computer hacker because she has had nothing and nobody but her netscreens the entire time she has been imprisoned. The problem is that Cress has just received orders to track down Cinder and her accomplices for Queen Levana.

I had highly anticipated the released of this book and I am pleased to say that it was well worth the wait! Each book in this series gets better and better, and Cress definitely did not disappoint. In this book we meet Cress, who is basically Rapunzel but instead of being imprisoned in a tower she is on a satellite orbiting Earth. Her social skills are a bit lacking because she has been imprisoned alone for so many years, but for a girl who has spent so much time alone she is very bright and strong.

When Cinder and her group attempt to rescue Cress from the satellite so that she can help their team, they run into trouble and the group ends up separated. Cress is finally free of her prison but is now lost along with Captain Thorne, and the Cinder must do everything in her power to stop Queen Levana from marrying Emperor Kai.

I love the way each of these books focuses on a new character each time but still allows us to see what is happening to the other characters as well. Cress is a great new character and at first seems so childlike and innocent because she has been alone for so long but I like how she is able to become strong and hold her own. I also love the way the relationships between the other characters are still developing three books later and it doesn’t feel like anything between them has been dragged out or fallen flat. Meyer does an excellent job of keeping the story going and keeping the relationships interesting.

Overall, Cress was an excellent and exciting follow up to Scarlet and Cinder. This book definitely had an interesting ending so I am very anxious to see what happens next!

Cress was released on February 4, 2014 and is the third book in The Lunar Chronicles.