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Thursday, January 9, 2014

REVIEW: Freak of Nature, by Julia Crane

Donate Body to Science. Check.

When seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn checked the box, she never suspected she’d have her life–and her body–stolen from her. She awakens one day in a secret laboratory to discover that her body is now half-robot and is forced to hide her own secret: that she still has human emotions and a human mind. If the scientists who made her find out, they’ll erase what remains of who she was.

Kaitlyn finds an unlikely ally in Lucas, a handsome, brilliant scientist who can’t get over the guilt he feels knowing she was once a vibrant, beautiful young woman. He never expected a science project to affect him the way she does. As he tries to help her rediscover her past, he finds himself falling for the brave girl struggling to find her place and acceptance between the human and computer worlds.

First, let me just point out that the cover actually depicts something relevant to the story. I keep running into covers on NetGalley that just don't fit the book (in my mind). This one...most definitely is depicting Kaitlyn.

Second, I'm in love with the fact that this is a cyborg novel. Not a robot, not a vampire, not a dystopian. The "science" in this one could very easily be happening now and we don't even realize it. In that respect, the premise of the book is enticing on several levels (my readers just venturing into sci-fi will pick this up and appreciate the romance bit).

Characterization can, in my experience, make or break a book. I, at first, felt like Kaitlyn was a bit stilted....until I realized she had to be, very literally. She is so limited in who can know she's more human than her caretakers think she is and even when she does let that be known, she can't really connect easily.

The dynamic between Katlyn and Lucas (one of the scientists in the lab and working on her "project") is an interesting one. It felt like the romance bit came on too easily, but then it worked as well. 

Freak of Nature was a quick-read, with a good story line, and some excellent cliff-hanging at the end. I'll definitely pick this up for my library and watch for the next book in the series.

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Enter Text Here through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

REVIEW: Being Sloane Jacobs, by Lauren Morrill

Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure skater who choked during junior nationals and isn't sure she's ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she'd give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life. Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player who's been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she's playing the worst she's ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.
When the two Sloanes meet by chance and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she's the lucky one. But it didn't occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It's not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you're someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.

What teenager feeling too much pressure to be "perfect" in the eyes of others wouldn't want to pull off the perfect identity switch? Heck, I'd have done it, though maybe not for an entire summer.

The dual points of view were incredibly well-done. Incredibly. I had no trouble keeping straight who I was reading and how her chapter fit into her story, as well as the greater story. Characterization is definitely a strong point for Morrill. I like that she used figure-skating (not something terribly "mainstream" for the average YA reader) and hockey (which isn't typically what you'd expect in a high school female) as plot points for this story. It's a fairly quick read and will attract reluctant girl readers well.'s my sticking points. This read like an "After School Special." (I just dated myself, didn't I?) Or...a Disney movie. I think I wanted it to be...meatier. And I think I wanted it to mean something that the girls had defied their parents and lied for weeks. Yet...there didn't seem to be much consequence. Also, the cover needs a serious change. I'm not one to judge a book by it's cover (much the opposite, actually), but this one suggested a romance story. Sure, there's some romance, but that's not what the story focused on at all--yet the cover does.

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Random House Children's (Delacorte BFYR) through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

REVIEW: Hero Worship, by Christopher E. Long

Ever since becoming an IWP—Individual with Powers—Marvin Maywood has dreamed of joining the Core, a group of gifted heroes who save lives and stop crimes. But because he's a homeless teenager who is forbidden to use his amazing powers, wanting and achieving that dream are two very separate things.

But when Marvin saves a family from dangerous hoodlums with his incredible strength and speed, his chance to try out for the Core comes at last. The opportunity seems like a dream come true—until he realizes that the idyllic hero life he imagined is just a mask for the corrupt reality. And when a beloved hero is murdered, Marvin is suspected of being the villain behind the crime.

A superhero book that's ACTUALLY a superhero book. There's a lot of thought put into this superhero world, a lot of depth. There are "clean" powers and "dirty" ones. Those with clean powers get to actually use them, but if you have dirty powers you're an outcast and have to hide them, unless you can afford the therapy to get rid of them. Problem is, it's hard to determine who the "good" guys are through all the corruption.

The world is awesome. The premise is good, if predictable. Marvin (the lead) has dirty powers, but the best ethics and morals. All the characters were interesting and the characters themselves were well-developed, if their relationships weren't. I found myself wondering why this story had to be told. (I've always thought good stories have a "why.") It's a good quick read, but it doesn't make me wonder if there's a second story for Marvin and his friends.

There's some mature content, violence and language, so I'd probably not hand it off to my freshman, and younger sophomores, but it has a place on my shelves.

What do you think??

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Flux through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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