Review: 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

Lizzie     Jul 16th, 2013     Reviews, Science Fiction, Things You Should Check Out     0 Replies

Reading level: 12 and up
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (April 17, 2012)
Language: English
Source: Purchased
ISBN-10: 0316182885
ISBN-13: 978-0316182881

It’s been decades since anyone set foot on the moon. Now three ordinary teenagers, the winners of NASA’s unprecedented, worldwide lottery, are about to become the first young people in space—and change their lives forever.

Mia, from Norway, hopes this will be her punk band’s ticket to fame and fortune.

Midori believes it’s her way out of her restrained life in Japan.

Antoine, from France, just wants to get as far away from his ex-girlfriend as possible.

It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, but little do the teenagers know that something sinister is waiting for them on the desolate surface of the moon. And in the black vacuum of space… no one is coming to save them.

In this chilling adventure set in the most brutal landscape known to man, highly acclaimed Norwegian novelist Johan Harstad creates a vivid and frightening world of possibilities we can only hope never come true.

More space books! Yes!

When I first found out about 172 Hours on the Moon, I hadn’t heard much of anything about it. At the time, I was quite out of the loop on the book world so I wouldn’t have been able to tell you what this was all about. I was really out of the loop. I picked it up in the bookstore, my eyes caught on that original hardback cover. Anything involving space travel will be on my to-read list.

I didn’t know what to expect when I cracked this open. But it certainly wasn’t what I got at all.

This book has freaking haunted me since I finished it. I can’t say anything about why without completely spoiling it but let me just say, whoa. The ending scared the crap out of me, like legitimately freaked me the eff out. I may have slept with the lights on but what does that matter…

In other points, the translation (this was first published in Norway!) was spot on and not awkward, as some translations can be. I loved the homage to Houston’s NASA Johnson Space Center, which I spent four or so months out the last year living near. It made me feel a little proud! =D Fun fact: JSC is actually in Webster, Texas but once you enter the grounds, it is officially considered Houston city limits!

Weird, huh?

Anyway! Back to the review…

Most of the characters were pretty likeable but I wish there could’ve been more focus on Mr. Himmelfarb, a retired NASA worker. It felt like there could’ve been a lot more of him without losing the sense of mystery but alas, that did not happen. I really particularly liked Mia. She was pretty badass and her at the ending… geesh!

I closed 172 Hours on the Moon with shaking hands and a racing mind. It, to this day, haunts me like no other book I’ve read. I want to scream when people talk about revisiting the moon because of this book. I never expected this, of all novels, to scare me as bad as it did. Read it with all the lights on and don’t look at the moon. This, along with that damn Apollo 18 movie, have absolutely shattered my dreams of visiting the moon. And if you’re up for being freaked out of your mind, you will love 172 Hours on the Moon.

Review: Reached by Ally Condie

Lizzie     Jul 8th, 2013     Dystopian, Reviews, Romance, Science Fiction     0 Replies

Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Source: Purchased
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0525423664
ISBN-13: 978-0525423669

After leaving Society and desperately searching for the Rising—and each other—Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again: Cassia has been assigned to work for the Rising from within Society, while Ky has been stationed outside its borders. But nothing is as predicted, and all too soon the veil lifts and things shift once again.

In this gripping conclusion to the #1 New York Times-bestselling Matched trilogy, Cassia will reconcile the difficulties of challenging a life too confining, seeking a freedom she never dreamed possible, and honoring a love she cannot live without.

I can never say enough about how much I adore Ally’s writing. It’s fluid, gorgeous, and makes me remember why I love words.

That said, this was probably my least favorite book in the Matched Trilogy. It was the longest, topping out at just over 500 pages, but it didn’t quite live up to the other two books. I expected a stronger plot but for various reasons, it fell a bit short.

The idea of the Rising was so awesome to me, and when I picked up Reached, I hoped to learn more about it and its goals and leaders. Instead, there was just a lot of confusion. I felt like Ally didn’t really have answers for the questions she brought to light in the previous books. You only saw things from Cassia, Ky, and Xander’s points of view and they knew almost nothing. It was quite irritating.

You would think this book, as the conclusion, would have been fast-paced and reached a climax for the series. Yet again, but, that did not happen. I felt there was no real conclusion for this series and as a reader, that is more than disappointing. It makes me hesitate to recommend the books when it ends as this did.

As a whole, the Matched Trilogy is fun and exciting. The writing is stunning and I will read any future books Ally puts out. But Reached was a huge disappointment for me. I wanted to love it, and I almost did, but in the end, it fell unfortunately short.

Review: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Lizzie     Jun 26th, 2013     Dystopian, Reviews, Romance, Science Fiction     0 Replies

Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Purchased
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595143998
ISBN-13: 978-1595143990

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They’re ready to start life afresh–to build a home–on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn’t the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed’s former passengers aren’t alone on this planet. And if they’re going to stay, they’ll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who–or what–else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed–friends, family, life on Earth–will have been for nothing.



That bit up there ^ is literally all I had in my first draft of this review. I can’t even…

It’s taken me two months to write this review. How the frick do I even describe how much I love this series? Hands down, Beth is one of my favorite writers; in my opinion, she is perhaps one of the best YA writers out there right now. She is fearless and cool and a Whovian. Stop with the perfection, Beth!

Okay, this is supposed to be a review about Shades of Earth, not its [amazing] author. So here goes…

This series is one of those that just gets better with every book. Upon reading AtU back at the end of 2010, I just knew I was in it for a long haul. I waited on edge for the covers, for news, synopsises, those epic giveaways that Beth always does. And I made 100% sure that my bestest friend Megan read it (and she did! Hoorah!) I have lived and loved it all over the last two and a half years.

I preordered Shades of Earth and the moment it arrived, I just stared at its beauty. Well, sort of. Personally, I’m not a *huge* fan of the redesigned covers and it made me sad to not have a whole matching set of hardcovers on my shelf. Still, I often picked up the book, opened it to the first page, and then put it back down.

I was, in no way, prepared to finish the Across the Universe trilogy. I was not ready to know Shades of Earth’s secrets.

But then, one day, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I ate up this book like there was no tomorrow.

It was such a ride. I was completely enthralled from the second they landed on Centauri Earth. Beth’s writing has always kept me reading and in SoE, that was no different. I couldn’t help but sort of wishing I was on that planet too… just because, I mean, it’s another freaking WORLD! But then came that sickening feeling again. I had it when I read AtU and AMS, and I had it again reading this book. With the first two, it was the claustrophobia of Godspeed; with Shades of Earth, it was exactly that, but in a different way: Elder, Amy, and the other citizens were cut off from contacting Earth on a planet hundreds of light years away from any civilization. It was, in a very different way, claustrophobic.

When an entire book series can make me feel that way, I know it’s damn good.

Overall, I think I did expect a little more from this book in terms of planet exploration but I wasn’t disappointed. I just want MORE! Give me more, ugh! Can I say, please read this series? Read it everyday of your life and you’ll thank me. And if you don’t, you’re just wrong. ;P

And that’s all she wrote.

Review: The Loved and the Lost by Lory S. Kaufman

Lizzie     Jan 23rd, 2013     Dystopian, Fantasy, Reviews, Science Fiction     0 Replies

Reading level: Ages 13 and up
Paperback: 332 pages
Publisher: Fiction Std
Source: Received from publicist
Language: English
ISBN-10: 193655853X
ISBN-13: 978-1936558537



They are three 24th-century time travelers desperate to return to 14th-century Verona and reclaim their medieval family’s shattered lives. It is a mission fraught with danger and the risk of unexpected consequences for themselves and their worlds. For all three, it is a matter of the heart. For one, though, it is truly the only thing that matters, as the fate of his eternal love and the life of their unborn child is the prize to be won – or lost forever.

In this, the final book of The Verona Trilogy, Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln go on the boldest adventure of their lives. They will face hardship, tragedy, and threats from sources they couldn’t have imagined – all in an effort to wrestle a future from the steely grip of an unforgiving past.

Today, I am reviewing the final book in the Verona Trilogy, as a part of Lory’s blog tour!

Read my review of The Lens and the Looker here and my review of The Bronze and the Brimstone here.

First off, let me say, I’m a little sad to see the covers redesigned! I loved the original covers for the first two books and how they had a sort of classic look to them. However, I think these new ones are great and will definitely appeal to more readers. Which is a good thing, of course. ;)

Now, on the story…

I’m so glad I agreed to review these titles. Time travel is a concept that I’m so fascinated by, and have been for years. And this series reflects the complications and wonderful things that could arise from it. That’s one of things I loved about this particular series: it shows, ultimately, that time is a very sensitive thing.

All of the characters evolved in The Loved and the Lost; the change I noticed the most was in Hansum, and it was a far, yet great evolution from the beginning of the first book. As the 14th century characters came back into play throughout the story, I felt quite a bit nostalgic for Hansum, Lincoln, and Shamira and the times they had in the beginning of their adventures.

The story got even better with this book! If you have read my other reviews, you know I’m more of the action kind of girl than a romance-y one, and Lory delivers on the action front twofold. I don’t think I can say there was a dull moment. Plenty of heart-wrenching ones? Oh, most certainly. I never felt bored while reading it though. Without a doubt, this book was the best of the series.

It’s hard for me to say that I liked the ending of a series because, well, who likes endings? I certainly don’t! But I did think this one had a truly great end. I’ve read (and I’m sure we all have) series endings that were lackluster and made me feel disappointed in having invested so much time in it. I didn’t feel that way with The Loved and the Lost and the Verona Trilogy. You really should give this series a chance. I don’t believe you’ll regret it for a second. 0=)

Review: Crossed by Ally Condie

Lizzie     Jan 15th, 2013     Dystopian, Reviews, Romance, Science Fiction     0 Replies

Reading level: Ages 12 and up
Hardcover: 367 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Source: Purchased
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0525423656
ISBN-13: 978-0525423652

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky — taken by the Society to his certain death — only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander — who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart — change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

Haven’t read Crossed? Start here.

Wow. What a book.

I liked Matched a lot but it was never my most favorite book. It wasn’t what I expected or hoped for. It didn’t have action; it focused mainly on the romance. And while I enjoyed that romance, the lack of action disappointed me a bit. And as always happens when I read a book I only liked, I was nervous to read the sequel, pushing it back on my to-read until quite a time after Reached was released.

I don’t know why I did this.

Crossed is the perfect sequel: more action, a perfect balance between romance and action scenes, better than the first in so many ways. The writing also became even better, which, if you have read Matched, didn’t seem possible. The one thing that has always struck me about Ally’s writing was how lovely and pleasant the words are. Personally, I’m obsessed with words and her writing makes me appreciate them that much more.

The setting of Crossed was so gorgeous. I never really thought of myself as lover of canyons and deserts but after reading this, I’m so fascinated by them and I would love to visit the Grand Canyon, like immediately, thank you very much. I absolutely loved the idea behind the Carving and (possible spoiler!) the Society has tried capture it over the years. The village reminded me of my favorite book from my elementary school days, The City of Ember, which I absolutely loved.

There were points where I felt it dragged a bit, though. Especially about 3/4 of the way through, I got a bit bored. I feel like Ally knew where it may have dragged, because I found that when I was getting annoyed with the book, something new or interesting or twisty would happen and move the story along. Which, you know, is very much appreciated.

Crossed is a sequel not to be missed. If you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for? The first book, duh! Read the first book then! I promise you’ll enjoy it. =)

Review: A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Lizzie     Feb 8th, 2012     Dystopian, Reviews, Science Fiction     0 Replies

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 386 pages
Publisher: Razorbill (January 10, 2012)
Source: Bought
Language: English
ISBN-10: 159514398X
ISBN-13: 978-1595143983

Godspeed was fueled by lies. Now it is ruled by chaos.

It’s been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. And everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may just be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He’s finally free to enact his vision – no more Phydus, no more lies.

But when Elder discovers shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a puzzle that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier, unable to fight the romance that’s growing between them and the chaos that threatens to tear them apart.

In book two of the Across the Universe trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis mesmerizes us again with a brilliantly crafted mystery filled with action, suspense, romance, and deep philosophical questions. And this time it all builds to one mind-bending conclusion: They have to get off this ship.

Haven’t read Across the Universe? You should probably start here.

Excuse me, because this review may get a bit fangirl-ish. I promise I will try to control it.

Beth Revis seems quite normal when you talk to her via Twitter. She’s so grateful people love her books, she is kind and takes time to actually talk to fangirls like me, and she is quite endearing. Also, she holds amazing giveaways and contests.

That is just a facade. Underneath it all, she is an evil, evil woman who likes to torture her readers. You thought Cassandra Clare was bad? Psh. Beth is WORSE!

I loved Across the Universe beyond words. I will rave to you everyday of the week about that. I loved the claustrophobia of it, the adrenaline and the way things are weaved together in such a way that you never see the end coming. I love the cover in every single way. I love that the Godspeed symbol is on the jackets and embossed in the hardcovers of the first book.

But A Million Suns is way better than Across the Universe.

Normally, you would call that blasphemy. How is it possible to love the sequel more than the first one?! Well, it’s like this: Beth is a twisted woman and she shows you that in A Million Suns. Nearly every chapter, give or take, introduces a new point that sets your heart racing. It was so hard to put the book down and as such, I finished it within three sittings. Which has not happened in a very long time.

In simpler terms, this book freaking rocks!

Everything about it frustrates and entices you to the point where you can be engrossed for hours. I was fascinated the entire time, in so many ways. I really wish I could go into why but that would lead to extreme spoilers and no one wants that. :-( I do, however, think it would be a very good idea that you find out why I loved this book so for yourself. You won’t regret it! And if you do, I will pay you $1,000,000 for the inconvenience*!

* — I really won’t but sounds like a good idea, aye?

** — I can’t promise the ending won’t be frustrating and make it impossible to wait until 2013 for the last book but I can promise $1,000,000*!

Review: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Lizzie     Sep 14th, 2011     Dystopian, Reviews, Romance, Science Fiction     0 Replies

Reading Level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (September 13, 2011)
Source: Won from publisher
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312590563
ISBN-13: 978-0312590567

What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you’d been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?

Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth’s collapse, the ship’s crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader’s efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don’t know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them…

Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he’s the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren’t all from the outside.

When this little beauty arrived in my mailbox, you should’ve seen me. At first, I wasn’t really sure what it was. I wasn’t expecting anything for review. When I opened it, I was jumping up and down, so excited at what I was holding. From the second I discovered what Glow was, I knew I needed to review it. I entered a giveaway the publisher was holding for ARCs—and low and behold, it arrived several weeks later!

From the first page, I knew this would be a good read. The main characters, Waverly and Kieran, captured me. They seemed like they were really in love. However, I wished there would have been more time to see their apparently very strong relationship. By the end of the second chapter, there was a war going on. Don’t get me wrong, I love that it is fast-paced. But the beginning felt rushed so it could get to the main story.

That aside, Glow kept me on the edge of my seat with every turn of the page. Ever since I saw Zenon on Disney when I was younger, I wanted to live on a space station. It wasn’t until I was a little older that I realised how human nature, no matter big the ship is, will not let that happen without there being more problems than it is worth. And that is the case in this book.

Humans, when desperate, will do anything, including kill.

This book was so thrilling to read and yet, left me with chills more than a few times. It is one of those books that, if you’re not careful, you’ll end up being awake until 4 AM and you’re holding a finished book. It’s just that addicting. And the setting couldn’t be more perfect. Space! And not just space, but as the book begins, we learn the ship has been inside of a nebula for a few years. A nebula!

Can you tell that I have a soft spot for books set in space?

I really do. And I wish there were more of them. Especially if they’re as intriguing as this one. Definitely pick this book up as soon as possible—you won’t regret it.

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