This Mortal Coil: Gene-Hacking, Gripping Action and (a little) Gore

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada is a refreshing new dystopia/sci-fi/post-apocalyptic story that grabbed me from the start until the very end, and left me gasping with the many twists and turns.

dividersynopsis

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada33876440

Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.

That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.

When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race.

Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself?

dividerreview

What immediately grabbed me from the start and impressed me was the writing style. From the very first line, it intrigued me. The writing is vibrant and colorful, and I absolutely loved it. If a book can grab me with the writing, it says a lot, and this book could.

The premise itself is not that original, actually, it is not at all original at the first glance. It is about a girl surviving in a post-apocalyptic world, with zombie-like humans, corrupt corporations, and a plague. But despite its unoriginal premise, the story is completely new and different. It brings many new aspects and interesting things to the table.

Her words are clipped and sharp. She speaks the way a rife fires. She is steel and glass and blood fused into a blade.

I loved the gene-hacking and coding aspect to the story. There are many scientific descriptions about how it works, but it wasn’t overwhelming. What Emily Suvada did really well is to describe scientific things in a simple but realistic way. The world felt so much more realistic due to the scientific aspect of the story. It also made me think about how gene-hacking (which basically means you manipulate your genes) would work in the real world and it felt like the things that happened there, would also be able to happen here.

The word was here before I was born, and it will be keep spinning after I am dead. The universe is continuous; I am the anomaly. I am the thread that begins and ends, the flame that sputters out. A chance collection of proteins and molecules that perpetuates itself, bound by the electric fire of my mind.

The characters were all really great and multi-faceted. I loved Catarine and Cole and I thought they made a great duo. Cat was smart and determined and wanted to do the right thing. She was also funny at times, which I really liked. The only character that I didn’t really like was Dax (who is Cat’s ex), but the sole reason for that was that he kept calling Cat “Princess”.

The one thing that annoyed me mildly was the romantic storyline, which I thought was a little unnecessary. But that’s probably just my romance-aversion talking.

‘How are you feeling?’
‘I feel like… I feel like I got shot in the back.’
‘That’s a common side effect of getting shot in the back.’

The book is mildly disturbing, has many plot twists you never see coming, and is brilliantly woven into a story that you won’t forget easily. I am giving it 4.5 stars because it was gripping and had amazing writing. I really loved it! I am not giving it 5 stars because the romance was a little unnecessary and there was no diversity in it.

Review: Things I’m Seeing Without You | An Emotional and Funny Story about Grief

I have conflicted feelings about this book. One part of me loved it, one part of me didn’t like it and another part of me just wants to stop this review here and go to bed (I’m not gonna).

dividersynopsis

Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni33795874

Seventeen-year-old Tess Fowler has just dropped out of high school. She can barely function after learning of Jonah’s death. Jonah, the boy she’d traded banter with over texts and heartfelt e-mails.

Jonah, the first boy she’d told she loved and the first boy to say it back.

Jonah, the boy whose suicide she never saw coming.

Tess continues to write to Jonah, as a way of processing her grief and confusion. But for now she finds solace in perhaps the unlikeliest of ways: by helping her father with his new alternative funeral business, where his biggest client is . . . a prized racehorse?

As Tess’s involvement in her father’s business grows, both find comfort in the clients they serve and in each other. But love, loss, and life are so much more complicated than Tess ever thought. Especially after she receives a message that turns her life upside down.

dividerreview

I’m gonna try really hard not to spoil you for the story, which is kind of hard. After Jonah dies, Tess is lost and depressed (which is never specified in the book but the signs really told me she was). I can’t say I liked Tess a lot. Of course, she was grieving, but she also was quite rude, and I felt, a little unrealistic. At some times she was a little annoying, and at other times she suddenly had the wisest revelations and thoughts, which seemed not to match very well.

Even though I could create total blackness in my room, my thoughts always seemed to glow in the dark. And sometimes, the only way to get them to dim was to tell them to someone.

Despite me not liking Tess a lot, I thought the story itself was both emotional and funny, it was a great mix between heavy and light topics. It talks a lot about death, but it is not depressing at all. It takes a lighter twist on the heavy topics, which was very refreshing to read. It made me think about things, that I had never considered before.

There was a little romance in the story, but it didn’t feel romantic at all. I shipped the characters but it was very straight-forward with no build-up. Another thing that I still don’t understand, is this one conversation in the story. A boy says he was in love with another boy, then defensively says he is not gay, because it was not sexual. This comes across to me as bi-phobia, which I am not okay with. I was hoping that somewhere further in the book he would elaborate on his sexuality, but he never did.

“Finish high school. Go to college. Find out what you want. Find out what you don’t want. Screw up a little more. Get your heart broken again. Try to be decent along the way. That’s how you make a life.”

Overall I enjoyed reading this book. It was engaging, funny and emotional. I read it almost entirely on the same day and it was very fun to do so, but there are some negative points that bugged me not only while reading it, but also after it. I can’t say this was an amazing book, like some other reviewers have done, but it wasn’t truly bad either. I’m a bit in the middle on it.

I am giving this book 3.5 stars, because despite the negative points, I did enjoy reading it. I would recommend this book if you want to read a book about grief and death that is not depressing. If you want to read something that is both fun and serious at the same time, this is probably something you’ll like.

Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni comes out on October 3rd and you can find it on goodreads here.

Review: Karina’s Silver Shoes | A Fairytale Parody

Karina’s Silver Shoes is a fairy-tale parody, or something like that. I don’t know, I don’t get this book.

dividersynopsis

Karina’s Silver Shoes by Denise Marques Leitao

She’s got the fate of a kingdom in her hands—or rather, in her shoes.
14-year old Karina is not sure what she wants, but she knows what she’s found: fascinating silver shoes. Fascinating, dangerous, and potentially evil. On the upside, they do bring cool visitors.

When two princesses ask her to go to Whyland, a kingdom in a parallel dimension, to destroy the shoes, of course Karina accepts. Who would refuse a free trip to an alternate world?

Advised by a wise master and threatened by a beautiful stepmother, Karina goes on a journey with a princess to defeat a powerful witch. But Whyland is nothing like she expected. Karina finds herself stuck in a kingdom she doesn’t understand, with no clue on who to trust. Before saving anyone, she’d better save herself—if she figures out how.

From Brazilian / Canadian writer Denise Marques Leitao comes Karina’s Silver Shoes, a teen parody of fantasy and fairy-tale tropes with many female characters, friendships between girls and women, and some subtle romance.

Continue reading “Review: Karina’s Silver Shoes | A Fairytale Parody”

Review: 27 Hours | Queer Teens Fighting Dragons in Space

I am well aware of the controversy surrounding this book. I’ve read a lot of negative reviews, but I also have read positive reviews. Still, I was really looking forward to reading this book and I am glad I did.

dividersynopsis

27 Hours by Tristina Wright28526192

Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.

But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother’s shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon’s darkest secret.

They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.

27 Hours is a sweeping, thrilling story featuring a stellar cast of queer teenagers battling to save their homes and possibly every human on Sahara as the clock ticks down to zero.

Continue reading “Review: 27 Hours | Queer Teens Fighting Dragons in Space”

Review: Good Angel | A Cute story about Morally Grey Angels and Demons mixed with Diversity and Questions about Sexuality

Good Angel is a self-published book about angels and demons but it’s really different from any angel and demons book I’ve ever read.

dividersynopsis

Good Angel by A.M. Blaushild35708483

Iofiel is an ideal candidate to become a guardian angel, and help steer humans away from sin: she’s helpful, cheery, and utterly loyal. And, as the ‘angel of beauty’, it’s not like she has anything better to do.

Heaven and Hell long ago ran out of space: there’s too many humans these days, so both have come to a shaky truce – one school sheltered in the forests of Canada, hidden from humanity, where their young can study.

All seems well for Iofiel’s first days at university – her Archangel roommate is a bit uptight, and dealing with demons feels weird– but when a picked on demon confesses he’s too nervous to pursue his true passion of soul stealing… Iofiel promises she’ll major in it with him!

So much for being a proper angel. Her helpful impulse has repercussions that shake the school, and may just change the world forever. Or just end it.

Because that’s a possibility too.

dividerreview

I went into this book knowing close to nothing about it. I knew it was about angels and demons and that it had aro-ace representation. As someone who identifies as aro-ace, I was very excited to read an ownvoices book with that representation. I was so ready to finally read about that aro-ace character that I’ve been basically dreaming of, one that I could actually relate to. Sadly, that didn’t happen. More about that later.

Iofiel is a (new) angel and she’s a very naive, innocent character, I think those words describe her really well. She wants to help everyone and she apparently didn’t really need much of a reason to do so even if it made life for herself difficult. She becomes friends with demons who go to the same school as she does and basically does everything an angel shouldn’t do. Still, you cheer for her all the way to the end, because her innocence and sweet-heartedness make you fall a little in love with her.

“You don’t worship evil, you just pull it around on a leash a bit until it’s learned to do your bidding.”
“Remember when you were going to be a Guardian Angel, and really liked pancakes? Those were the good days. The golden days of, like, three weeks ago.”

I have this theory that every book has a strong point, or multiple ones. The more strong points it has, the better it is. These strong points can be the writing, the pacing, the tension, the characters, the dialogue, etc. I didn’t feel like this book had any outstanding points, it was good, but nothing was that good that it really stuck to me. The characters were really likeable, the dialogue was quite fun, the writing was okay, the story overall was interesting. But it wasn’t grabbing. It wasn’t as good as I would have loved it to be.

“When have I ever made someone see how beautiful something was, though? I don’t know if appreciating things really makes them… worthwhile. It’s about getting people to agree.”

So back to my original point. In the book, Iofiel is at first described as aromantic asexual, but to me, she doesn’t really seem to be either. Or maybe better said, she is really still questioning everything about her attraction. Though there is nothing wrong with that, I would have loved to see a bit more exploration on the topic of aromanticism and asexuality. I think now this book gives a bit of a wrong image of what aromanticism and asexuality are. I can’t really explain everything without spoiling anything so this’ll have to do.

Overall, I am giving this book 3.5 stars because it is fun, but not outstanding on any topic. Everything is really fun and interesting but it’s not really impressing me on any front. I did love that there was a lot of diversity in sexualities (bi, gay, agender, ace, and more) and skin-tones (since angels and demons don’t all look human they have skin-tones in all the colors of the rainbow). I loved that it explored topics of morality and how it crossed paths from good to evil and where to stand. I would really recommend this book if you like books about angels and morally gray characters. Overall this was a very cute book and a fun read!

Review: T is for Tree | So problematic, I don’t even want to start.

I’ve been thinking long and hard about this book for reasons I’ll mention soon. You might remember my discussion about problematic content, well, I thought this book was problematic.

dividersynopsis

T is for Tree by Greg Fowler35700353

Eddy knows he’s not like other teenagers. He doesn’t look like them. He doesn’t think like them. He doesn’t go to school or have friends like they do. Eddy’s not even allowed to leave his bedroom – except on shower day of course. He doesn’t know why; all Eddy knows is that he’s different.

Abandoned by his mother and kept locked away by his grandmother, Eddy must spend his life watching the world go by from his bedroom window. Until Reagan Crowe moves in next door and everything starts to change. She’s kind, funny, beautiful, and most importantly, she’s Eddy’s first friend. Over time, Reagan introduces Eddy to the strange and wonderful world outside his bedroom: maths, jam, love.

But growing up isn’t that simple for either of them. And Eddy has a secret. The tree that’s slowly creeping in through his window from the garden is no ordinary tree. But then again, Eddy’s no ordinary boy. He’s special…

Set over the course of five years, T is for Tree is moving, life-affirming, and shows that we can all find greatness in the small things.

Continue reading “Review: T is for Tree | So problematic, I don’t even want to start.”

(Mini) Reviews: A Million Worlds With You & A Darker Shade of Magic

This is part two of two (probably) of mini-reviews, I have quite a few eARCs waiting to be reviewed so next week I’m back to ARCs! I hope you enjoy reading these mini reviews because I really enjoy writing them 😀

dividersynopsis

A Million Worlds With You (Firebird #3) by Claudia Gray

28960100{WARNING: THIS IS THE THIRD BOOK IN THE SERIES THE SYNOPSIS CAN CONTAIN SPOILERS; MY REVIEW WILL NOT}

A million universes. A million dangers. One destiny.

The fate of the multiverse rests in Marguerite Caine’s hands. Marguerite has been at the center of a cross-dimensional feud since she first traveled to another universe using her parents’ invention, the Firebird. Only now has she learned the true plans of the evil Triad Corporation—and that those plans could spell doom for dozens or hundreds of universes, each facing total annihilation.

Paul Markov has always been at Marguerite’s side, but Triad’s last attack has left him a changed man—angry and shadowed by tragedy. He struggles to overcome the damage done to him, but despite Marguerite’s efforts to help, Paul may never be the same again.

So it’s up to Marguerite alone to stop the destruction of the multiverse. Billions of lives are at stake. The risks have never been higher. And Triad has unleashed its ultimate weapon: another dimension’s Marguerite—wicked, psychologically twisted, and always one step ahead.

In the conclusion to Claudia Gray’s Firebird trilogy, fate and family will be questioned, loves will be won and lost, and the multiverse will be forever changed. It’s a battle of the Marguerites…and only one can win.

dividerreview

I really enjoyed the entire Firebird trilogy, but I’m not saying they were amazing books. A few years ago when I read the first book, I absolutely loved it but since then I’ve changed and I don’t think I would love it as much now. In the first book, we find out that Marguerite’s father was dead and then she chased the killer through dimensions. I loved the dimensions in this series, it was so interesting to read about.

“Songs and movies tell us that when you meet the one you love, the planet stops spinning, the clouds open up, and your heart begins to sing. Reality is messier than that. The truth is, we meet new people all the time, but we can never tell exactly what they might mean to us. You never know who you’ll forget, or who you’ll need forever.”

In the third book, we see a lot of new and also old dimensions, which Marguerite (re)visits. The first half of the book felt a bit repetitive to me, Marguerite is in mortal danger, thinks she’s going to die, finds some miraculous way out, and is in danger again. It never really built up the tension, because it’s all over the place. But you keep working towards that epic finale. And then that epic finale happens and it’s not that epic. It all went a little too smooth and too easy.

Another thing that made me like this book less, was the whole love interest debacle. I’m not going to name characters because that could spoil the rest of the series for you, but it’s really on-and-off and then on again. I was like: make up your mind!! I did like that it was less talk of fate, which this series has quite a lot of.

“Every moment, every day, we are all making something — whether it’s science or art, a relationship to a destiny — building it choice by choice, moment by moment.”

So overall, it was really enjoyable but there were some flaws in the build-up of tension. That was the major thing that bummed me about this book, but the rest was really fun! I’m giving this book 3,5 stars! If you like books about interdimensional travel, I think this series is for you!

dividersynopsis

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

61yjze2d8ql-_sy344_bo1204203200_Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

dividerreview

A Darker Shade of Magic is the second Schwab book I read and although I didn’t love it as much as I loved This Savage Song, it was really good! The world this book is set in really comes alive on the paper. You have these four types of London, and they are very distinct and all very interesting. Kell is the only (or just about the only) one who can travel between them, because he is an Antari, meaning he has magical abilities. I loved the way magic worked in this book and I can’t wait to find out more about it because I think there is even more to explore!

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

This book was so dark, seriously, sometimes I just had to put it down to get my act together. I feared so much for these worlds and people, but it was epic! The beginning was a bit slow, but then the second half just blew me away.

The writing style of this book felt a bit objective, you didn’t really get inside the head of the characters. You got some thoughts every now and then but I don’t feel like I know the characters yet. However, that didn’t stop me from loving Lila. She was such an awesome character: a badass female thief that just wanted to go on adventures and be a pirate. I cannot wait for more of her. I also really liked Kell but nothing can top Lila!

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”

I am giving this book 5 stars because it was epic and adventurous and very dark. At the time this review goes up I’m probably already reading A Gathering of Shadows, and after that I’m definitely going to read A Conjuring of Light! I would definitely recommend this if you like fantasy and magic and dark books!

divider1letstalk

Did you read either of these? What’s your opinion? Or are they on your tbr? Or not?