Dashner_eye of mindsAn all-new, edge-of-your seat adventure from James Dashner, the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, The Eye of Minds is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares.

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.
And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.
But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

Hardcover, 308 pages

Published October 8th 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

ISBN

0385741391 (ISBN13: 9780385741392)

 

The Eye of Minds is a great book for gamers and those interested in virtual reality. VirtNet is a gamer’s heaven that places you right into the fantasy world by putting your physical body into a sleep state while your mind goes on adventures. It’s an addictive and safe place where you can hang out with friends or have heart-racing experiences.

There is a rumour that one of the players has started taking hostages on the VirtNet and causing brain damage to those taken. This has the government searching for the hacker and they soon contact Michael for help.

The world building is amazing; since you’re put into this game world with the addition of hackers, it is an ever-changing world that goes beyond imagination. Michael spends little time in the ‘real world’, so the majority of the story takes place within the VirtNet.

I really enjoyed the characters as well. Both Michael and the villain stood out for me, and I loved both of them equally. The story doesn’t keeps a fast pace in the race to save the hostages, and there is also an eye-opening twist ending that I didn’t see coming.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy Michael Grant or Rush by Eve Silver. It is fast-paced and full of adventure, danger, and page-turning fun.



Ormand_Dark-DaysThe future world has been divided into sectors–each the same as the other. Surrounded by thick steel fences, there is no way in and no way out. Yet a cyborg army penetrates each sector, picking off its citizens one by one, until no one is left. Behind the sectors’ thick walls, the citizens wait to die. Few will be chosen to survive what’s coming; the rest will be left behind to suffer. A new world has been created, and its rulers are incredibly selective on who will become a citizen. They want only those with important roles in society to help create a more perfect future.

Sixteen-year-old Sia lives in one of the sectors as part of a family that is far too ordinary to be picked to live. According to the digital clock that towers high above her sector, she has only fifteen days to live. Sia has seen the reports and knows a horrific death is in store for her, but she is determined to make the most of her final days. Sia refuses to mourn her short life, instead promising herself that she’ll stay strong, despite being suffocated by her depressed mother and her frightened best friend. Just when Sia feels more alone than ever, she meets Mace, a mysterious boy. There is something that draws Sia to him, despite his dangerousness, and together, they join a group of rebels and embark on an epic journey to destroy the new world and its machines, and to put an end to the slaughter of innocent people.

Hardcover, 256 pages

Published June 3rd 2014 by Sky Pony Press

 

First comes the wall and news of the new world, then comes the horrific news videos from destroyed towns. Soon the clock begins to tick down; if you have not been chosen by now, you will die.

It comes to no one’s surprise when the clock begins to count down the days. They have seen the broadcasts of the other sectors that have been destroyed. Some, like Sia’s mother, become obsessed with watching the news, fearing the future. Sia’s father practically disappears, rarely coming home and telling her he is working. Sia has her best friend, until her family wants her to spend more time in the house as the riots are going to start and they don’t want to see her harmed.

What she sees are some people being chosen and taken to the new world, while others just count the days until destruction. There is no way out because of the walls, and no use fighting because no one has ever survived. Sia does not want to sit and watch everything crumble around her. She gets the opportunity to share this feeling when a new boy appears and gives her a new view of the situation. Sia does not want to take things lying down. She wants to fight.

Sia is a courageous character, doing what no one else has done. Why not spend her last days taking action, instead of regretting doing nothing. The pace of the story is pretty fast and there are many events that take place in a short amount of time. The world building is imaginative, fun, and very sci-fi. People die, friends are made, lost connections regained, and possible love found in the darkest of times.

This is another adventurous survival story that found its way on my radar, and I do recommend it. I really enjoyed the world building, how the story came together, and the endless possibilities in what can happen next.

 



coutts_tumble and fallA novel about the end of days full of surprising beginnings
 
The world is living in the shadow of oncoming disaster. An asteroid is set to strike the earth in just one week’s time; catastrophe is unavoidable. The question isn’t how to save the world—the question is, what to do with the time that’s left? Against this stark backdrop, three island teens wrestle with intertwining stories of love, friendship and family—all with the ultimate stakes at hand. 
 
Alexandra Coutts’s TUMBLE & FALL is a powerful story of courage, love, and hope at the end of the world. 

Hardcover, 384 pages

Published September 17th 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

 

In a market already saturated with post-apocalyptic books, Tumble and Fall is a take on the more contemporary side of life before the world comes to an end. It focuses on the daily life of three unrelated characters as they live what is left of their lives, waiting for an asteroid to hit. The importance of relationships, friends and family, and humanity in general, is a strong theme in the book.

Have you ever considered whether what you would want to do with the last days of your life may conflict with that of your loved ones? There are a lot of different ideas that are brought up in this story that bring about questions that most people wouldn’t consider. The writing is flows easily and it is a clean read, at times almost calming in a melancholy way.

It is character-driven; Sienna, Caden, and Zan, all have things they are trying to accomplish or deal with in their last days, and each of their stories are completely different. You will enjoy each character as much as the last as they journey to find contentment. It is mostly a story of coming to terms with the reality of your own life when you are given a deadline. The three characters go through many emotions and realisations during this short amount of time. Romance is not a big factor, but you do see a little.

I would recommend this book to readers of contemporary romance. It did make me think about how I would choose to spend my last day,s and it hits home with the importance of friends and family.

 



Cooper_ghost hawkFrom Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper, a story of adventure and friendship between a young Native American and a colonial New England settler.

On the winter day Little Hawk is sent into the woods alone, he can take only a bow and arrows, his handcrafted tomahawk, and the amazing metal knife his father traded for with the new white settlers. If Little Hawk survives three moons by himself, he will be a man.

John Wakely is only ten when his father dies, but he has already experienced the warmth and friendship of the nearby tribes. Yet his fellow colonists aren’t as accepting of the native people. When he is apprenticed to a barrel-maker, John sees how quickly the relationships between settlers and natives are deteriorating. His friendship with Little Hawk will put both boys in grave danger.

The intertwining stories of Little Hawk and John Wakely are a fascinating tale of friendship and an eye-opening look at the history of our nation. Newbery Medalist Susan Cooper also includes a timeline and an author’s note that discusses the historical context of this important and moving novel.

Hardcover, 336 pages  Published August 27th 2013 by Margaret K. McElderry Books (first published August 1st 2013)

ISBN  1442481412 (ISBN13: 9781442481411)

 

This story was a good representation of the arrival of the first Europeans into, what is now, the U.S. We are first introduced to a small Native American tribe, and we follow Little Hawk on his solo adventures through the woods: a quest that all boys must make to challenge themselves and grow into stronger men. He thinks a lot about his family and the training he has received so far to survive the trek, and we come to know his family through this, as well as some of the stories he has heard about the ‘white man.’ He returns to a very different home than the one he left, and his further travels eventually lead him to a young white boy named John Wakely. They become friends, and this friendship will shape their views of colonization forever.

As we follow their stories, we get an idea of some of the interactions between the tribes and the new settlers, and these culture clashes and business dealings set the grounds for future trading. As not all interactions were the same between areas, this story focuses on the northern colony areas. A lot of time passes from their initial meeting to the end of the story, so we see John travelling and becoming older, witnessing different interactions in different areas.

The story is written for younger readers and does cover a lot of information in a small book. I was impressed by how many different ideas were explored while still having a smooth and interesting story. The author was able to show both the Native American and the white men’s views in each situation throughout the book. It really made me think and was represented in a very easy to understand way.

What I loved most about the book was the honesty and trust of children. The power of being raised in a social setting, rather than coming into it as an outsider, gave them a better understanding and ability to see both sides and think for themselves.

I recommend this story, firstly, to those who enjoy reading about Native Americans and the history of the first U.S. colonies, but also for those who enjoy the culture clashes brought on by immigration.



Kunze_Kill-the-Music-cover1-263x408Bel:

Cover

The title draws the eye with grungy bright wording. Pink sneakers standing on a stage door pass covered in blood, hinting at the storyline. All in all, it is highly effective!

Characters

All standard issue boy band types can be found here.

Favourite

Genevieve. Awesome best friend.

Least Favourite

Alan Knightley. Just grrr!

Beginning

Lorna starts at a state high school while her brother’s band, Turmoil, spends some time back on Aussie soil.

Storyline

While doing homework in a dressing room, Lorna overhears a plot to kill the band. Can she figure out who wants to endanger her brother and the rest of the boys before they put the plan into action?

Ending

Guess ya gotta read it to find this one out.

Thoughts

This was a fun, quick romp. I enjoyed the banter between the band members. Nansi Kunze has a knack with creating tension and writing likeable characters. This would be perfect for those in the Northern Hemisphere to take on a summer vacation, or just read in a warm sunny spot.

Quote

“Apparently I’m a disruptive influence,” I said, “Or do you think it’s something else? Jealousy maybe? Perhaps he had a band once, and they never made it big because he was too damned ugly…” ~ Lorna talking about her home-room teacher.

 

 

Nansi-Kunze-profile-picKrista:

Cover

Punk Rock! Gritty background of purple and black with bright lettering, cute shoes and bloody pass! Very appealing, attention grabbing, and cute.

Characters

Variety of characters in this one; Lorna the MC who is the sister of a band member of Turmoil, her friend Gen, and the members of the band.  The characters have great chemistry together, and it shows through the writing.

Favourite

Marius–he is a joker, ladies man, member of the band, and hilarious.  And Flint, he is a really great, caring brother.

Least Favourite

I really didn’t have a least favourite (besides the villain who I will not name). Every character had a place and fitted into the story perfectly.

Beginning

Lorna’s guardian is her older brother who also happens to be in a very popular international band. She has been travelling with them but finally has a chance at a more settled life and a normal school. Bad thing is that everybody knows her brother, and she’s bombarded with questions from classmates until she finds a friend in Gen. Then she overhears a possible plot to kill the band members by somebody inside the entourage. Since she’s on the inside, the Constable asks her to help figure out which person it could be.

Storyline

Lorna agrees to take on the job of being “undercover” to help figure out who is plotting to kill the band.

Ending

Heart pounding and very climatic. A lot of things happen at once and big secrets revealed.

Thoughts

What I loved most about the book was the travelling. Lorna travels anywhere the band goes, so the whole book is not just set at the school with all the love-struck girls. I also loved the friendship that Lorna and Flint (her brother) have. There is constant movement in the story which keeps everything fast-paced and entertaining. It’s a very humorous and cute read.

Quote

I watched in alarm as Marius undid the belt of his yukata and let it slip from his shoulders, so that only his underwear remained. Clearly I had to stop him before he went any further. The problem was, all my instincts went against it-after all, I was naked in here. And though I’d seen Marius in very little clothing plenty of times, there’s a big difference between seeing someone in a pair of Speedos and revealing that you’ve been spying on them while they stripped off.

Marius’s hands reached for his undies. It was now or never.

“You do realise this is the woman’s bath, right?”

Lisa:

mishaps_Nansi KunzeCover

I didn’t get to see the cover, so I can’t comment.

Characters

Sadly, I didn’t really relate to any of the characters. We don’t get to know much about Lorna except that her brother is in a band named Turmoil and that she travels and spends a lot of time with them. I expected more from her, considering she’s the little sister of such a huge star.

Favorite

I didn’t really have one other than Gen, simply because she was such a good friend. But no one in particular really stuck out.

Least Favorite

I don’t really have a least favorite either, but there was one scene that really bothered me. Lorna was at school and a lot of people wanted to ask her questions, so she decided to answer a few. When one student asked her if Marius really cheated on his ex-girlfriend, Lorna responded by saying, she isn’t sure and can’t really release information like that anyway…

But then later she turns around to Gen, and basically tells her all the rumours she’s heard about the situation; that Marius let the fame get to his head, and that he was caught with another girl, making out.

Later Lorna finds out that the rumour wasn’t true, and she feels like crap about it.

It irked me so much, that at first Lorna defends the band, but then completely throws one of its members under the bus, when she, herself, doesn’t even know what’s true. I hate it when people gossip, so this definitely bothered me.

Beginning

The beginning was pretty fast paced. We learned about the band, and that Lorna was going back to a normal high school. We also witnessed Lorna make a new best friend and avoid a creepy guy. It was only a few pages in when Lorna over hears someone plotting to kill her brother and his friends.

Middle

Lorna learns the truth about Marius. We, the readers, get to discover what happened to Lorna, Flint, and Marius’s parents.

Ending

I’ll have to admit that the ending was pretty intense! It did keep my attention and had me sitting on the edge of my seat. The entire story, I was back and forth between who it could be trying to bomb up the band, but I never did I guess who it actually was. The ending of Kill the Music was my favourite part.

Overall Thoughts

I think I didn’t enjoy it as much as Bel and Krista because I simply couldn’t connect with any of the characters. 



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