Monday, 15 August 2016

Review: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor, #1)The Thousandth Floor

Author: Katharine McGee
Release date: 30/08/2016
Publisher/Source: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult / SciFi

Synopsis (Goodreads) New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.


A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall….

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

I almost didn’t finish reading The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee, I was fascinated by the futuristic premise but I found the start confusing and with it being told from so many POV’s, I couldn’t initially connect with any of them.

The Thousandth Floor is set in the year 2118 in a high tech NY City tower, the higher up in the tower that you live then the richer you are; the lower the level the poorer.

At the beginning of the book, someone falls from the thousandth floor, throughout the book we try to determine who it is or who we’d want it to be, I certainly tried to guess but I guessed completely wrong. We meet everyone two months prior to this event.

The characters:

Each of the characters were interesting but none of them really wowed me and I wasn’t fully invested. What I did enjoy is how they were all connected in one way or another.

We meet Avery Fuller who lives on the highest level with her parents, her brother is Atlas and she was genetically created to be perfect. I couldn’t quite figure her out but I was most curious about her life.

Rylin Myer is a character I felt for, taking on numerous jobs to take care of her sister after the death of her mother; she takes up an opportunity to work on a higher floor but doesn’t realise how it will change her life. She was an interesting character.

Eris Dodd-Radson is a fascinating character and Avery’s oldest friend; we see her life slowly spiral out of control as the book progresses.

Watt Bakradi is intelligent and a great hacker, he is secretive and for good reason.

Leda Cole is Avery’s best friend and is fresh out of rehab for being addicted to drugs, she has many secrets that she holds close to her chest. She was my least favourite character.

Setting / World-building / Plot:

The tower was a unique setting and I enjoyed learning about how it all came to be. We aren’t inundated with a lot of information but there are aspects that could be further explored.

The futuristic aspect is one that I appreciated, with all of the advanced technology explanations and advancements, I thought that it was written well. It’s a vast and intriguing world and showed what wealth depending on the tower level could afford.

I liked the mystery aspect, the ongoing drama and the complex relationships between the characters; learning about their lives, their secrets and their families was entertaining and kept me wanting to know more. I especially curious to learn about who had fallen at the beginning of the book.

Overall:

As I mentioned, I almost didn’t continue this book; I found the pacing at the beginning to be slow and there were too many character POV’s for me but as I continued each stood out for themselves and I became intrigued by the mystery within the tower.

Katharine McGee’s writing is gripping and the overall story is mysterious and engaging. The Thousandth Floor is a nice debut.


Thank you to HarperTeen via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review The Thousandth Floor.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Review: The Epidemic (The Program 0.6) by Suzanne Young

The Epidemic (The Program, #0.6)The Epidemic

Author: Suzanne Young
Pages: 384
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Series: The Program 0.6
Release date: 19 April 2016

Synopsis: Can one girl help others find closure by slipping into the identities of their loved ones? Find out in this riveting sequel to The Remedy and companion to New York Times bestselling The Treatment and The Program. 

In a world before The Program…

Quinlan McKee has spent her life acting as other people. She was a closer—a person hired to play the role of the recently deceased in order to give their families closure. Through this process, Quinn learned to read people and situations, even losing a bit of herself to do so. But she couldn’t have guessed how her last case would bring down her entire world.

The only person Quinn trusts is Deacon, her best friend and the love of her life. Except Deacon’s been keeping secrets of his one, so Quinn must set out alone to find Arthur Pritchard, the doctor who’s been trying to control her life. The journey brings Quinn to Arthur’s daughter, Virginia, who tells Quinn the truth about Pritchard’s motives. The former closer will start to see that she is the first step in fighting an epidemic.

But Quinlan doesn’t want to be a cure. And with all the lies surrounding her, she realizes she has no one left to rely on but herself—even if she doesn’t know who that is anymore.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Contains possible spoilers from The Remedy.

The Epidemic is the sequel to The Remedy and companion to The Treatment and The Program.

The Epidemic begins where The Remedy left off. Quinlan McKee has spent her life as a Closer – a stand-in as other people, she takes on the short-term role of a deceased loved one to give them their final closure. The premise is always one that has intrigued me and in The Remedy Quinn finds out something that completely shocked her, her life has been a lie – her journey throughout this book showed of her pain but also her immense strength.

Deacon is the only person Quinn can trust – or can she, he’s been keeping secrets of his own, so she must set out alone to find Arthur Pritchard, a doctor who’s been attempting to control her life and the man who erased her memories. Quinn ends up meeting Arthur’s daughter, Virginia, who is definitely nothing like her father and is just as much a pawn in his plan as what Quinlan has been, she learns that she may be the first step in fighting an epidemic.

The plot is engrossing and flows at a steady pace, we are taken on an exciting journey as Quinn and Deacon as well as other closers try to find out the mystery behind some surprising teenage deaths and how it is all linked to Quinlan and Pritchard.

I have adored Quinn and Deacon together but I really questioned his loyalty and motives in this book, he wasn’t as forthcoming as what he should have been and it drove me crazy! Despite this, I still think he is a great love interest and support to her.

The Epidemic is a book about self-discovery, I have enjoyed every moment and each of the side characters who all play a pivotal role in the overall story. Arthur Pritchard is a character I despise, he is truly the perfect villain.

Overall, The Epidemic is a creative YA novel that explored difficult themes of emotions and identity. The characters are each wonderful, the romance is enjoyable although I was questioning it at one stage and the intricate plot keeps me entertained – I highly recommend this series.

Thank you to Simon Pulse via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review The Epidemic by Suzanne Young.


Suzanne YoungAbout the author

Suzanne Young is the New York Times bestselling author of The Program, The Treatment, and several other novels. She currently lives in Tempe, Arizona where she teaches high school English and obsesses about books. Learn more about Suzanne at www.suzanne-young.blogspot.com

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Review: Torn (A Wicked Saga #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Torn (A Wicked Saga, #2)Torn

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: A Wicked Saga
Publisher: JLA
Release date: 19th July 2016
Pages: 299
Source: Amazon

Synopsis. (Goodreads)

Torn between duty and survival, nothing can be the same. 

Everything Ivy Morgan thought she knew has been turned on its head. After being betrayed and then nearly killed by the Prince of the Fae, she’s left bruised and devastated—and with an earth-shattering secret that she must keep at all costs. And if the Order finds out her secret, they’ll kill her. 

Then there’s Ren Owens, the sexy, tattooed Elite member of the Order who has been sharing Ivy’s bed and claiming her heart. Their chemistry is smoking hot, but Ivy knows that Ren has always valued his duty to the Order above all else—he could never touch her if he knew the truth. That is, if he let her live at all. Yet how can she live with herself if she lies to him? 

But as the Fae Prince begins to close in, intent on permanently opening the gates to the Otherworld, Ivy is running out of options. If she doesn’t figure out who she can trust—and fast—it’s not only her heart that will be torn apart, but civilization itself.

Review: 4 ½ out of 5 stars

Contains possible spoilers from the first book

I have been really looking forward to reading Torn despite not completely loving the first book, Wicked; it was the first book by JLA that I didn’t completely love but the sequel was all sorts of wonderful.

This book is a continuation of Wicked, so they should be read in order so that you know who is who and what is going on.

At the beginning of this book Ivy Morgan is recovering from being betrayed by her best friend and fellow order member Val and almost killed by the Prince of the Fae. After finding out what she is, she doesn’t know who she can trust but she does know that she needs to prevent the fae prince from creating an apocalypse baby with the Halfling and opening the gates to the otherworld.

Ren is Ivy’s newish boyfriend and part of the Order’s Elite, he is committed to his job and despises the fae so Ivy is petrified that he’ll want nothing to do with her once he finds out what she is. Ivy and Ren are both amazing! I loved their chemistry and their banter; you couldn’t help but hope for happiness for both of them after everything that they have been through, I felt they both grew as characters from the first book.

The Prince of Fae is the type of villain you love to hate, emotionless, powerful and cruel he is intent on opening the gate to the otherworld and will do it by any means necessary. His treatment of Ivy was harsh but she stayed strong despite what he put her through.

Many secrets were revealed which had me shocked! Everything that Ivy thought she knew about the Order and the fae has been wrong so it was great learning the truth as she did.

The biggest surprise in Torn was Tink! Oh my gosh, I adored him; he definitely brings the humor to the story and I loved his big reveal and the way he looks out for Ivy, their friendship has really grown.

JLA’s books have been more miss than hit for me lately but this was very well written and wasn’t filled with trademark snark which at time does become too much, this had the perfect blend of everything that I have always adored about her books.

My only gripe was the wait between books, I know that this is sometimes out of the authors control but I originally read Wicked in 2014 so I had forgotten a lot of what had happened, JLA did a great job of rehashing everything but it is hard to keep up with such a long break in between books.

Overall, Torn had a great blend of romance, mystery and wit; it’s a thoroughly entertaining NA Paranormal and I am excited for the next book in the series Brave which has an anticipated 2017 release date.



Jennifer L. ArmentroutAbout the author: # 1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer L. Armentrout Lives in West Virginia. 

All the rumors you heard about her state aren’t true. 

Well, mostly. When she's not hard at work writing, she spends her time, reading, working out, watching zombie movies, and pretending to write.

She is the author of the Covenant Series (Spencer Hill Press), the Lux Series (Entangled Teen), Don't Look Back (Disney/Hyperion) and a yet untitled novel (Disney/Hyperion), and new YA paranormal series with Harlequin Teen. 

Jennifer also writes New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name J. Lynn. The Gamble Brothers Series (Tempting the Best Man/Tempting the Player) and Wait for You. Under her pen name, she is published with Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Review: Shadow Falling (Scorpius Syndrome #2) by Rebecca Zanetti

Shadow Falling (The Scorpius Syndrome, #2)Shadow Falling

Series: Scorpius Syndrome #2
Author: Rebecca Zanetti
Pages: 400
Release date: 30th August 2016
Publisher: Kensington Books/Zebra
Source: Netgalley

Synopsis (Goodreads) Before the Scorpius Syndrome tore through North America and nearly wiped out the population, Vivienne Kennedy was the FBI’s best profiler. The bacteria got her anyway. But she survived. She recovered. And when she woke up from a drug-nightmare of captivity, her skills as a hunter of men had gone from merely brilliant to full-on uncanny. Her mysterious rescuer wants her to put them to the test. But no matter how tempting he is, with his angel’s eyes and devil’s tongue, Vinnie knows she shouldn’t trust him.

If the FBI were still around they would rate Raze Shadow as one of the bad guys. His military training can’t wipe out his association with the Mercenaries, the most feared gang in a thousand miles. His loyalties are compromised. He won’t even tell Vinnie his real name. But there’s no FBI in the new America of fear and firepower, only instinct and risk. 

And the way his arms wrap around Vinnie tells its own story. Whatever else Raze is concealing, he can’t hide his desire . . .

Review: 2 out of 5 stars

Shadow Falling is the second book in the Scorpius Syndrome series, I have not read the first book Mercury Striking but I didn’t at any time feel lost.

Every review I have read for this title sings its praise but unfortunately for me I had a few issues but I think I may be in the minority.

My biggest issue is in no shape or form do I condone the barbaric treatment of women, I don’t care in what context it is written – sexual or otherwise but when there is the threat of beating a woman it makes my blood boil; the males in this book were over the top masculine and treated the women terribly, throwing them over their shoulders and using threats to get them to submit, it didn’t work for me at all.

Our MC is Vivienne Kennedy a former FBI profiler but after being infected with the Scorpius syndrome and rescued, she is now residing at Vanguard and helping out as a psychologist/profiler; Vinnie now has a special ability after being infected that I would have liked to have seen explored further but I’m sure it will be touched on in other books.

Raze Shadow is a trained soldier but he has many secrets that he is keeping from the leader of Vanguard and also Vinnie, his past left me curious but it didn't take long to find our what he was hiding and why.

I think if it wasn’t for the romance I would have enjoyed this book a lot more; there are a few plotlines; the first being Raze trying to infiltrate the Mercenaries to get his sister back, another the threat from the president and also the non-infected pures within the Vanguard compound looking to go out on their own to keep the human race around.

I found the world-building to be lacking, I wanted to know more about this dystopian world and the Scorpius virus and the destruction that it causes. I found certain things were glossed over and important information missing.

We meet a few secondary characters, Jax Mercury is the leader of the group, a little untrusting and also barbaric; I did like Lynne Harmony; her mysterious blue heart has me curious and the other infected at vanguard each played an important role. Tace and Sami were great, both wild and mysterious.

Overall, Shadow Falling is a dark dystopian, it’s a kill or be killed kind of book. Despite not loving everything about this, the premise is interesting as was the virus and how it affects people differently. I am not sure if at this stage I will read book 3, Justice Ascending despite my curiosity. I’m not sure if romance and the apocalypse works for me.

Thank you to Kensington Books/Zebra via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Shadow Falling.



Rebecca ZanettiAbout the author: New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Rebecca Zanetti has worked as an art curator, Senate aide, lawyer, college professor, and a hearing examiner - only to culminate it all in stories about Alpha males and the women who claim them. She writes dark paranormals, romantic suspense, and sexy contemporary romances.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Movie review: Ice Age: Collision Course directed by Mike Thurmeier

Ice age collision course.jpgIce Age

Release dateJune 23, 2016 (Australia)

Synopsis.

Scrat's epic pursuit of the elusive acorn catapults him into the universe where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the Ice Age World. To save themselves, Sid, Manny, Diego, and the rest of the herd must leave their home and embark on a quest full of comedy and adventure, travelling to exotic new lands and encountering a host of colourful new characters

Review: 2 out of 5 stars

It pains me to give this movie such a low rating but for me it was the worst of the five films to date.

We were bored of Scrat’s pursuit of the acorn; right off the bat we saw him chasing after it in space and it dragged on and on, it’s also what set of the events that threatened everyone on earth, including the herd of mixed species that we have come to know and love over the past few movies.

We see the original cast of Manny (voice of Ray Romano) his wife Ellie (Voice of Queen Latifah), Sid (voice of John Leguizamo) Peaches (voice of Keke Palmer), Diego (voice of Dennis Leary) and his wife Shira (voice of Jennifer Lopez) as well as Peaches boyfriend Julian (voice of Adam DeVine) trying to divert a giant flaming asteroid from hitting earth, leading them in their journey is Buck (voice of Simon Pegg). Along this adventure and not known to anyone but Buck, they are also being tracked by flying dinosaurs that he had managed to peeve off.

Unfortunately, Collision course has failed to evolve; it’s formulaic at best and doesn’t move away from what we have already seen, it wasn’t fresh and unique and we found the plot to be disjointed and boring.

To say we were disappointed is an understatement, we have thoroughly enjoyed this franchise up until now but I think it has run its course; the only saving grace for us was the geotopia the herd stumbled across and the interesting characters that we met.

Of the movies that we watched during our winter break, Ice Age; Collision Course was our least favourite.

Movies in order:

Ice Age
Ice Age: The Meltdown
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Ice Age: Continental Drift
Ice Age: Collision Course



Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Movie review: Ghostbusters directed by Paul Feig

Ghostbusters

Initial releaseJuly 14, 2016 (Australia)

Synopsis.

Paranormal researcher Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and physicist Erin Gilbert are trying to prove that ghosts exist in modern society. When strange apparitions appear in Manhattan, Gilbert and Yates turn to engineer Jillian Holtzmann for help. Also joining the team is Patty Tolan, a lifelong New Yorker who knows the city inside and out. Armed with proton packs and plenty of attitude, the four women prepare for an epic battle as more than 1,000 mischievous ghouls descend on Times Square. 

Review: 4 stars out of 5 (Miss 9 says 5 out of 5 & Mst 11 says 4 out of 5)

I thoroughly enjoyed the 1984 version of Ghostbusters and I was initially hesitant about watching this because of the hype and the controversy but I needn’t have worried because this supernatural comedy was fantastic.

The opening scene was pretty spooky and completely freaked us all out, I instantly pulled my phone out to double check the rating but it was definitely PG. There were a few more freaky moments but nothing as creepy as the first.

Our main characters, a group of four women – Abby Yates, Erin Gilbert, Jillian Holtzmann and Patty Tolan were all fabulous and worked beautifully together; they were all so different but each bought something unique to the film.

For us, the stand out character was Jillian Holtzmann played by Kate McKinnon; she was all sorts of crazy and bought much humor to the film. We also get trademark Melissa McCarthy comedy that bought wonderful banter and many laughs.

The storyline is more or less the same as the original, except it’s now a group of women preparing for a battle against ghouls and a mad man that’s creating the havoc; there were some amazing special effects to keep us entertained from the start to end.

We also get a bit of eye candy with Aussie actor smexy Chris Hemsworth who plays Kevin but his character didn’t come with much depth, he played a ditzy assistant and despite being nice on the eyes I didn’t feel he contributed to much of the story overall.

We have cameos from original cast members, Ernie Hudson and Dan Aykroyd; we also get the original theme song; the old ghostbusters logo and Bill Murray who played an interesting role as a sceptic. It was a nice step back in time.

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the new Ghostbusters. With a female main cast, many laugh out loud moments and amazing special effects we all found it to be highly entertaining with never a dull moment.