Imitation (Clone Chronicles #1)

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Imitation

“Everyone is exactly like me. There is no one like me.

Ven wrestles with these contradicting truths every day. A clone of wealthy eighteen-year-old Raven Rogen, Ven knows everything about the girl she was created to serve: the clothes she wears, the boys she loves, the friends she loves to hate. Yet she’s never met the Authentic Raven face-to-face.

Imitations like Ven only get to leave the lab when they’re needed—to replace a dead Authentic, donate an organ, or complete a specific mission. And Raven has never needed Ven . . . until now.

When there is an attack on Raven’s life, Ven is thrust into the real world, posing as Raven to draw out the people who tried to harm her. But as Ven dives deeper into Raven’s world, she begins to question everything she was ever told. She exists for Raven, but is she prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she’s never met?”

-Taken from Goodreads

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Alloy Entertainment for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This had a very interesting concept, what with clones being made and kept in handy for whenever they are needed. Ven is one of them, and she is called into action after someone attacks her original. While it is not exactly explored, the idea that clones are not that identical to their ‘originals’ (genotype does not equal phenotype) is present throughout the book.

While I thought that Ven was a bit too meek at times, taking orders without question, that is how she was raised, trained, conditioned, I don’t know how to define it. It was nice to see her breaking out of it, becoming her own person.

In terms of plot, however, it wasn’t that developed. It was a plot with slow moments and then it would suddenly become full of action. Then it would get slow again. It was a bit too slow at times, verging on boring.

Soulprint

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Soulprint

“Alina Chase has spent her entire life in confinement. With the science of soul-printing now a reality, she is ‘protected’ for her own safety – and the safety of others – because her soul has done terrible things … or so she’s told. When Alina finally breaks out of prison, helped by a group of people with unclear motives, she begins to uncover clues left by her past life that only she can decipher. And she may not be as innocent as she once believed. Can Alina change her future, or is she fated to repeat her past and face the consequences? Perfect for fans of Sophie McKenzie.”

– Taken from Goodreads

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This had a really promising premise: soulprinting. In the same way that fingerprints are unique, so are souls. This means a soul can be traced from reincarnation to reincarnation, and that consequences of previous lives end up spilling into the present one. This is what happens to Alina. Because she had the misfortune of hosting June’s soul and because June was considered to be extremely dangerous, Alina spent her life locked in an island.

However, the execution of the premise leaves a lot to be desired if what you crave is action. There is not much action here. Well, there is, in the first few chapters. Then, it begins to drag and switches from action-packed to extremely philosophical. Halfway through, it seems the characters are more concerned with pondering whether or not the fact that a soul was bad in one life means it will be bad in the next life. Because of this, the thriller aspect fell apart, at least for me.

City Of Stairs

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City of Stairs

A densely atmospheric and intrigue-filled fantasy novel of living spies, dead gods, buried histories, and a mysterious, ever-changing city-from one of America’s most acclaimed young SF writers.

Years ago, the city of Bulikov wielded the powers of the Gods to conquer the world. But after its divine protectors were mysteriously killed, the conqueror has become the conquered; the city’s proud history has been erased and censored, progress has left it behind, and it is just another colonial outpost of the world’s new geopolitical power. Into this musty, backward city steps Shara Divani. Officially, the quiet mousy woman is just another lowly diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, Shara is one of her country’s most accomplished spymasters-dispatched to investigate the brutal murder of a seemingly harmless historian. As Shara pursues the mystery through the ever-shifting physical and political geography of the city, she begins to suspect that the beings who once protected Bulikov may not be as dead as they seem-and that her own abilities might be touched by the divine as well.”

-Taken from Goodreads

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Quercus Books for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is a dense book, not to be read in one sitting. It’s a fascinating read, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not cute and cuddly. Nope, it’s a gritty fantasy, with a really well thought world building and political schemes galore. Furthermore, the characters are also really interesting and multi-faceted, full of secrets.

As for the plot, it is a complex one, as what begins as a murder investigation turns into a religious affair. For me, an atheist, reading a book that involves Divinities was an amazing experience. Especially when towards the end of the book it plunges deeper and deeper into theological discussions. They are not boring, but they are dense. And it was mainly because of them that I couldn’t finish them in one sitting. Furthermore, as someone graduated in International Relations, some quotes really spoke to me. One example: ‘Nations have no morals. Only interests.’ And another one: ‘States are not, in my opinion, composed of structures supporting privilege. Rather, they are composed of structures denying it – in other words, deciding who is not invited to the table.’ (NOTE: those were taken from the ARC). After reading those quotes, I’d venture a guess that the author has read Hobbes’ works, but I digress.

Why not give it five stars then? Well, it might just have been my sleep deprivation, but I was a little confused at points about the divide between Saypur and the Continent. They have a long and bitter history between them, and sometimes I lost tracks of who hated who and why.

Black Ice

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Black Ice

“Sometimes danger is hard to see… until it’s too late.

Britt Pfeiffer has trained to backpack the Teton Range, but she isn’t prepared when her ex-boyfriend, who still haunts her every thought, wants to join her. Before Britt can explore her feelings for Calvin, an unexpected blizzard forces her to seek shelter in a remote cabin, accepting the hospitality of its two very handsome occupants—but these men are fugitives, and they take her hostage.

In exchange for her life, Britt agrees to guide the men off the mountain. As they set off, Britt knows she must stay alive long enough for Calvin to find her. The task is made even more complicated when Britt finds chilling evidence of a series of murders that have taken place there… and in uncovering this, she may become the killer’s next target.

But nothing is as it seems in the mountains, and everyone is keeping secrets, including Mason, one of her kidnappers. His kindness is confusing Britt. Is he an enemy? Or an ally?

BLACK ICE is New York Times bestselling author Becca Fitzpatrick’s riveting romantic thriller set against the treacherous backdrop of the mountains of Wyoming. Falling in love should never be this dangerous…”

– Taken from Goodreads

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Simon & Schuster UK Children’s for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Reading this book was a bit like watching a car wreck unfold. You know things will go awfully wrong, but you still can’t look away. From the beginning, it was obvious that Britt and Korbie (weird name, by the way) would get into trouble. For all that they thought they were prepared, they weren’t. For instance, if you’re going to a mountain where it snows, the least you should do is change the tires of the car. Also, they should have travelled in a group of cars, rather than by themselves.

So, when what’s left in front of you is the steaming wreck, you keep staring. You can’t believe that a car has turned into that mass of twisted metal. This is what happened here. After disaster struck, that is, Britt is taken by the two guys, I kept reading. I had to know if there were going to be any survivors. There were some lived and some that died, but I’m not spoiling it.

The twists at the end weren’t that twist-y. They made sense, and, thus, were even expected. I’m not sure I’m entirely happy with how the book ended. I can’t say anything else or else I’ll spoil it, but I will say this: I was sort of creeped out by that ending.

Lies We Tell Ourselves

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Lies We Tell Ourselves

“In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.

Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.

Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept “separate but equal.”

Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.

Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence it.”

– Taken from Goodreads

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

I’ll be blunt: this book made me angry. Not at the author nor at the characters, for they are fictional. It made me angry at human stupidity. While I do not live in the United States, my country also had a long and dark period in its history where slavery was legal. Even though slavery was abolished more than a century ago, society still bears the scars in the form of racism.

This book, by dealing with the beginning of the end of segregation in the United States made me angry. I know a lot has changed, but still, I can’t help but being angry at a society that blindly believed that Negroes (as they are called in the book) are inferior and dumb. Not only that, but that society felt entitled to treat these supposedly inferior individuals as animals. I don’t know how Sarah could keep her cool in the situations she was put through. I would have stabbed someone with a pencil in the second chapter of the book.

Another thorny issue dealt with in this book is sexism. While Sarah’s main struggle is with segregation, Linda struggles with sexism. Her main goal in life is to graduate high school and get married. Hold your horses, get married straight out of school? Yes, she has no thought of going to college. She just wants to get married so she can move out and leave her abusive father behind. In essence, she would be replacing her father with her husband.

While both are very serious issues, racism was the one that caused me the most anger. Maybe it’s because I have more experience with racism than with sexism (remember that first paragraph in this review?).

The ending, however, made all that anger go away. Not all the problems are solved, far from it, but it’s astounding to take a step back and see how much the characters matured, particularly Linda. I wasn’t expecting her to grow that much, so that was a pleasant surprise.

The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1)

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The Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1)

“Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.

Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.

All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.

So he tries his best to do his worst – and fails at failing.

Now the Magisterium awaits him. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.

The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . .”

– Taken from Goodreads.

I’d like to thank NetGalley and Random House Children’s Publisher UK for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

I started this book with an open mind, but the similarities to Harry Potter were just too many, both in characters and in plot. Characters that grow up in ignorance of all things magical (Call to a lesser degree). When he goes to the Magisterium (this book’s Hogwarts), he makes friends with Tamara and Aaron. Tamara is a know-it-all of sorts, and Aaron is unflinchingly loyal. Does that sound familiar? Oh, and the villain is called Enemy of Death (Voldemort-y much?). There is even one concept that is eerily similar to the Horcruxes devised by Rowling.

Plotwise, it was nothing special, with the trio making friends and getting away with breaking the rules. Even the twist at the end was somehow expected, thanks, again, to Harry Potter.

In my opinion, the book doesn’t match the hype that has been generated about it. I’m not entirely sure yet if I’ll read the sequel.

Coin Heist

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Coin Heist

“The last place you’d expect to find a team of criminals is at a prestigious Philadelphia prep school. But on a class trip to the U.S. Mint – which prints a million new coins every 30 minutes – an overlooked security flaw becomes far too tempting for a small group of students to ignore.

United by dire circumstances, these unlikely allies – the slacker, the nerd, the athlete, and the “perfect” student – band together to attempt the impossible: rob the U.S. Mint. The diverse crew is forced to confront their true beliefs about each other and themselves as they do the wrong thing for the right reasons.

Elisa Ludwig’s Coin Heist is a fun, suspenseful, and compelling thriller, told from the revolving perspectives of four teens, each with their own motive for committing a crime that could change all of their lives for the better—if they can pull it off.”

– Taken from Goodreads

’d like to thank NetGalley and Adaptive Books for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

I was immediately attracted by the blurb. A group of teens planning a coin heist? Sign me in!

They had the reason, they had the ways and they had the nerve to go ahead with it. However, somehow, they story fell a little short of expectations. I was expecting the story to contain some scandal of sorts. I mean, it’s the U.S. Mint! It would’ve been interesting to see the outrage caused by the coin heist linked to the other scandal that kickstarts the story. Besides, even if their ends were noble, I don’t feel they justify the means used to achieve such ends.

As for the characters, it was interesting to see not only their roles in the coin heist plotting, but to also get some glimpses into their lives. They were so different from each other, living in different ways, that it was fascinating to see how it all came together.

The ending was a bit disappointing for me. I thought it was too subdued, too easy somehow.