The Wicked Deep

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1) by Amie Kaufman

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1) by Amie KaufmanThese Broken Stars (Starbound, #1) by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Published by Disney Hyperion on December 10th 2013
Pages: 384
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

Before I started These Broken Stars I was convinced that I was going to love it. Unfortunately this book ended up being just an “okay” read. I liked the characters and the setting in These Broken Stars but not the huge plot twist that occurred 3/4 through. The twist confused me and I didn’t like the direction the story went after it was introduced.

I really liked the dynamic between Lil and Tarver, because they come from completely different worlds, and therefore they often contradicted each other. Tarver is a well-mannered, country boy, with a military background, and Lil is a spoiled, young heiress, who gets everything she wants. At least, that’s what people like Tarver believe. Yes, Lil’s been pampered her whole life and has a taste for upper class life, but she’s not a snob who thinks she’s above everyone else. It was so much fun watching them try to work together to survive when they constantly challenged each other.

I definitely understand why some readers have made the comparison between These Broken Stars and the movie, Titanic. Lil (Rose) and Tarver (Jack) come from completely different classes. They fall in love and then try like heck to survive an impending tragedy. Their story also reminded me of Romeo & Juliet, because their forbidden romance is living on borrowed time.

Things got really weird 3/4 through this book. There was a big plot twist that I didn’t like. I thought the story was just going to focus on Lil and Tarver getting to know each other, falling in love, surviving the planet’s climate and creatures, but then out of nowhere this huge, weird plot twist entered the mix and I didn’t know how to respond to it. The concept was heavy and confusing and I wasn’t happy with how it changed the overall story

In conclusion, I didn’t care much for These Broken Star’s story-line, but I did love Lil and Tarver’s relationship. I’ve skimmed the descriptions of books two and three and see that they follow new characters. I’m hesitant about continuing with the series, because I want more Lil and Tarver, and I’d be super disappointed if the new characters didn’t compel me like they did.

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three-half-stars

Alienated by Melissa Landers

Alienated by Melissa LandersAlienated (Alienated, #1) by Melissa Landers
Published by Disney Hyperion on February 4th 2014
Pages: 344
Goodreads
two-stars

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

I enjoyed Alienated in the beginning. Cara was fiery and fierce. She really spoke her mind and stuck with her personal beliefs. Aelyx was cute and funny. His ways are so different than ours. His people are very formal, bland and unemotional. It was great following his explorations and budding emotions. I was really digging the slow building relationship between him and Cara.

Unfortunately, halfway through this book the storyline took a nosedive. It just really dragged and I found myself steadily losing interest.

Also, I appreciated that there was no insta-love but when the feelings were finally expressed between the two leads it was extreme (to say the least). They were ready to forget everyone else for each other. Cara is bitter and constantly remarking on the fact that her older brother, barely takes interest in her, or their parents. The moment that Cara falls in love with Aelyx she’s ready to ditch Earth and hop on a ship with him. She herself, quickly forgets her parents and sees only Aelyx. That was a huge 360 for Cara’s character. And a letdown.

I don’t know what else to really say. This book just ended somewhere completely different than it started. I’ve easily become bored with the Cara and Aelyx relationship. Given hints towards the end of Alienated, a love triangle might be on the horizon for book two. If anything, I might read the sequel to see what this new guy is like and if he can re-spark this story for me again.

two-stars
The Wicked Deep

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra BrackenThe Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1) by Alexandra Bracken
Published by Disney Hyperion on December 18th 2012
Pages: 488
Goodreads
five-stars

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.

One of the greatest feelings in the world at least the book blogging world, is starting a book with high expectations and then being able to finish said book, with an even greater amount of excitement. I’m not going to beat around the bush. The Darkest Minds rocked! From start to finish my hands were glued to this book and my eyes to the pages. I couldn’t get enough!

The Story: Bracken proves that there’s still plenty of originality left in the dystopian genre having crafted an incredibly original tale of (future) disarray, destruction, subjection and fear. The world in DM is so large and full of possibilities. With so many different organizations/groups at play, you never really know who to trust, or who’s the bad guy. The plot is very twisty at times. Just when you think that you’re safe, you realize you’re not, or vice versa. Bracken throws out a lot of false trails, continually and successfully leading us down wrong paths.

The Main Character: I had quite the love-hate relationship when it came to Ruby. On one hand I found her incredibly naive. Having firsthand witnessed Thurmond’s cruel treatment and quite literally laughable ”rehabilitation” methods, you’d think that Ruby wouldn’t be so quick to trust. Unfortunately that’s not the case due to the fact that she makes a lot of stupid mistakes. These mainly involve trusting anyone who promises to help, save or protect her. Ruby is flawed for sure, but the parts of her that shine the brightest are the good parts, like her huge heart and budding determination. She grows a lot throughout the story. In the beginning you find a girl too scared to stand up for herself, let alone anyone else. By the end, Ruby is ready to strike down whoever tries to comes at her or especially, her friends.

Supporting Characters: A lot of DM‘s strength comes from its core group of supporting characters. Unlike many books that feature their S.C. in the background, DM‘s remain constantly upfront, thickening and propelling the story forward. Each one, Suzume, Chubs and especially Liam, burst with strong individuality. Their quirky, irritable yet hilarious and charming personalities (in that order) fill out this book with emotion. No characters fall flat in DM because they are all carefully constructed and considerably utilized.

The Romance: Sigh! Swoon! Drool! You name it!!! Since the description makes mention I don’t feel spoilery for saying that there is a lot of lurve brewing between Ruby and my dear, Liam. Besides the fact that I personally want to transport into DM‘s world and snatch Liam for myself, the chemistry between Ruby and Liam is just so damn powerful. Watching their relationship slowly (sometimes painstakingly) build, kept me hooked the whole way through. What I like is seeing love not being told there’s love. DM excels at this. You won’t see any pre-mature “I love you!” and “I love you tos!” Instead you get the story of two people, having met under incredible and horrific circumstances, learning to trust and lean on one another through dangerous after dangerous situation, and finally realizing that their feelings of friendship branch deeper and stronger.

Because at times the story did slow down and it was a bit of a struggle to get through, I give The Darkest Minds 4.5 stakes. I’m so bummed that it’s going to be a year before book two comes out. After the mind-blowing cliffhanger in DM and Ruby’s new-found realization and determination I CANNOT wait for the book(s) to follow.

five-stars
The Wicked Deep

Dark Star by Bethany Frenette

Dark Star by Bethany FrenetteDark Star (Dark Star, #1) by Bethany Frenette
Published by Disney Hyperion on October 23rd 2012
Pages: 368
Goodreads
four-stars

Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it's hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she's lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human--something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile.

Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn't fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers--livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin.

To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person's memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers' next move. But Leon, her mother's bossy, infuriatingly attractive sidekick, has other ideas. Lately, he won't let Audrey out of his sight.

When an unthinkable betrayal puts Minneapolis in terrible danger, Audrey discovers a wild, untamed power within herself. It may be the key to saving her herself, her family, and her city. Or it may be the force that destroys everything--and everyone--she loves.

It’s been a long time since a novel without a center-stage romance has held my interest. The other none-romancey parts of Dark Star are just THAT good. Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely romantic tensions and a slow budding relationship, but I didn’t rely on it’s meatiness to keep my interest. I was just so incredibly intrigued with Frenette’s world. The creativity and imagination really burns bright in this book. 

I’m going to be super vague in this ramble because I don’t want to give away a single secret or twist. Also, I’m feeling particularly lazy so this isn’t really going to be a well-thought out review, just a compilation of my thoughts after finishing Dark Star.

First major thought — ZOMG I need book two. Dark Star builds to an explosive showdown with one shocking twist after another. I can’t even grasp how awesome book two is going to be now that Audrey will be playing an even bigger role. She spends a lot of Dark Star coming to terms with the secrets regarding her heritage.

I liked Audrey. A lot. She’s strong and resilient. When a friend is in danger, if Audrey can help, she will. She can be quite reckless at times, but it all comes from a good place.

Audrey has two pretty great friends, Tink and Gideon, especially Gideon. He is so sweet and funny and protective. I love how they played central roles in Audrey’s life. They didn’t disappear like some MC friends tend to do. You could really get a sense of the deep bonds of friendship the three have.

There’s loads more I could say, but like I said, I’m a bit lazy right now. Basically if you want something to and exciting with fresh ideas, read Dark Star. It’s a one maybe two sitting kind of read. 

four-stars