State of Grace — Hilary Badger.

Many thanks to Capstone Publishing, via NetGalley, for an opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

3.5/5

This was a unique book. Not in a bad way, but I’m still not entirely sure what to think of it. I will say that I got thoroughly irritated about halfway through it at the constant repetition of phrases that include the word “Dot.” (This, if it were to be compared to phrases in English, would be stuff like “Praise be to God” or “God’s blessing upon you,” etc. Which I’m okay with, as long as it’s not every other phrase that people utter… and that’s how it was with the “Dot phrases.”)

I didn’t really like Wren as a character. She seemed way too… okay with her idyllic existence and taken in with the whole “well I don’t remember my life prior to living in Dot’s paradise but that’s okay because I guess I didn’t have a life before here.” There was very little curiosity exhibited until about 45% through the book.

I would recommend this, but if you’re like me, you have to be in a particular mood to be able to read this novel and not get too irritated with it.

However, I enjoyed it enough that I would be willing to read other books by Hilary Badger, for sure. I loved the unique take on “Utopia” and the twists that occurred later on in the story.

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The Scorpion Rules — Erin Bow

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, via NetGalley, for an opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review!

4.5/5

Really, really enjoyed The Scorpion Rules. I’ve never read anything by Erin Bow before, but I definitely want to read her other books ASAP!

This book is dystopic with a unique twist — to try and prevent nations from declaring war on each other, the ruling/royal families of each country have to give up one of their royal children as a hostage. If war is declared, then the children of both of the warring countries die. Obviously, the hostage situation — which is really more similar to a boarding school for children of all ages, except there’s constant fear of wars starting (and the knowledge that classmates have been killed on the premises due to war declarations). The children who live and work at the “boarding school” are known as Children of Peace.

Enter Greta and her cohort of fellow hostages. I won’t rehash the entire plot since you can read that in the blurb, but I found Greta to be fairly likable, a little aloof, and pretty believable, especially given the changes that have taken place in this world, so far in our future.

Would definitely recommend to pretty much anyone, even (and perhaps especially) to people who don’t normally enjoy sci-fi/dystopic novels. However, I agree with one of my friends here on GR and would not recommend for younger teens, since there is some violence as well as gay and straight sexual references/scenes (neither terribly graphic).

The ending though!!! AHHH….. so bittersweet…

Broken Lies – Claire Vale.

Many thanks to Book Enthusiast Promotions, via NetGalley, for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

3.5/5 stars

*Spoiler alert ahead*

Okay, I’m just gonna say it at the start: this book has some similarities with the Hunger Games trilogy.

That being said, I won’t spoil it any more for those who have not read it and wish to do so. 🙂 The similarity to the Hunger Games was something I saw coming at about 50% through the novel, although I wasn’t entirely sure how it was going to play out. And I’ll also be honest — the fact that there are similar aspects was the clincher that made this book go from a 4 star to a 3.5.

Anyway! Aside from that, I enjoyed this book. There were a few problems with UK/US adaptations, as other reviewers have mentioned, but the only one that really stuck out to me was when Lake was making a joke to herself about how a “gift from the Gods” and a “gift from the Guards” sounded exactly the same. As someone who speaks “American English,” god and guard sound totally different. EDITED: Apparently this is confusing to British readers as well, since those two words don’t necessarily sound the exact same in British English either.

But that’s a small part of the book.

I normally don’t go for “zombipocalyptic” novels, but I did enjoy Broken Lies. Lake was likable, although I felt like she was super consumed with guys (but at the same time, managed to be herself without having to “belong” either to Ash or Thomas). I didn’t particularly like anyone except for Ava in terms of Lake’s group, although I didn’t super dislike anyone either.

Ending was quick and at about 30% I had predicted that it would be a cliffhanger-esque ending… but that’s okay. I do want to read the next book in the series and granted, I do dislike it when authors use the cliffhanger endings to get readers to read their next novel… but… *sigh* What can ya do?

From a Distant Star – Karen McQuestion

5/5 stars.

Many thanks to Amazon Publishing and Skyscape, via Netgalley, for an opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Recipe for this book:

1. Begin with 1/2 cup of stereotypical teenage romance, wherein Emma’s boyfriend Lucas is dying from cancer. Throw in 1 T. of doubt that this book is going to be any more interesting than aforementioned stereotypical teenage romances. Stir well.

2. Add 2 cups of a sad, innocent, lonely — but incredibly smart and adorable — alien named Scout (who takes over Lucas’ body in order to survive), and a half cup of excitement that the book is actually going to be something different than it started out seeming to be; mix thoroughly.

3. Sprinkle in a pinch (or a bit more, depending on flavor of mixture thus far) of nagging fear that Emma is never going to get Lucas back and that Scout is never going to get home; stir well.

4. Add 1 cup of exciting adventure and 2 cups of a happy ending that makes everyone happy. Mix well.

5. Place in oven and bake for 6 hours.  Enjoy!

Really, really enjoyed this book (as if it’s not evident by now). Scout was so sweet. The only downside is that I feel that I got to know Scout better, as he learns to navigate Earth, than I ever really knew Emma. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to recommend this book to those of my friends who like books that defy overused tropes. I look forward to see what other books Ms. McQuestion will be writing!