[Review #122] Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon

Zenn Scarlett Cover - Review Title: Zenn Scarlett
Series: Zenn Scarlett
Book one
Author: Christian Schoon
Genre: Science Fiction
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

When you’re studying to be exoveterinarian specializing in exotic, alien life forms, school… is a different kind of animal.

Zenn Scarlett is a resourceful, determined 17-year-old girl working hard to make it through her novice year of exovet training. That means she’s learning to care for alien creatures that are mostly large, generally dangerous and profoundly fascinating. Zenn’s all-important end-of-term tests at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars are coming up, and, she’s feeling confident of acing the exams. But when a series of inexplicable animal escapes and other disturbing events hit the school, Zenn finds herself being blamed for the problems. As if this isn’t enough to deal with, her absent father has abruptly stopped communicating with her; Liam Tucker, a local towner boy, is acting unusually, annoyingly friendly; and, strangest of all: Zenn is worried she’s started sharing the thoughts of the creatures around her. Which is impossible, of course. Nonetheless, she can’t deny what she’s feeling.

Now, with the help of Liam and Hamish, an eight-foot sentient insectoid also training at the clinic, Zenn must learn what’s happened to her father, solve the mystery of who, if anyone, is sabotaging the cloister, and determine if she’s actually sensing the consciousness of her alien patients… or just losing her mind. All without failing her novice year….

Review

Zenn Scarlett was a very unique book. I didn’t expect it to be so different when I picked it up but this wasn’t a bad thing. It was actually very refreshing to read something so different that held my attention so well.

Zenn Scarlett is a science fiction mystery based on Mars, humankind has populated several new worlds and has discovered many alien species, including the Indra that are the creatures that can travel through space faster than the speed of light. This alien creature is the ‘animal’ that powers all of the space ships, but recently Indra ships have been completely disappearing without a trace. No one knows what happens or who is hijacking them. Zenn Scarlett is a novice training to be a full fledged exovet; an exovet is pretty much a veterinarian that specializes in alien ‘animals’ rather than just normal animals as humankind knows them. Recently she’s been making a lot of mistakes that could cost her and her uncle Otha everything, on top of that she hasn’t heard from her father who is working on another world in months, Liam Tucker is acting unusual around her and she doesn’t know what to make of it, and she keeps having these weird experiences with the animals where she feels everything they are feeling; if just for a moment.

I really enjoyed reading this book because it was so very different, I couldn’t put this book down, it dragged me in and had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I enjoyed reading about all of the different alien animals that Zenn helped get better, I loved her interactions with Hamish; a coeplet from another world, and enjoyed trying to put together the mystery. There was a lot going on in this book which I loved, there was never a dull moment because something was always happening.

However, I did feel slightly disconnected from this book at times. Most of these times were in the very long conversations that Zenn kept having with characters, I would be pushed out of the story and would start wondering why the conversation was still happening and how could it possibly be moving the story forward. At these times I did get a little frustrated because I became aware that I was reading a book instead of being immersed in a story, most of the conversations were obviously placed to give the reader more information about the world or Earth’s standing and why.

Overall, I mostly enjoyed Zenn Scarlett and cannot wait to read the second book!

In Summary:
– Zenn Scarlett is a very different and unique story. I really enjoyed reading it.
– There’s a lot that is going on in the story which I loved.
– Sometimes I did feel disconnected in the book, conversations would get so long that it would push me out of the story and I would start wondering why the conversation needed to be so long.
– Overall I really enjoyed this book!

Miss J

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[Review #119] The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The Host by Stephenie Meyer - Cover - Review Title: The Host
Series: The Host
Book one
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, didn’t expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she’s never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.

Review

I have to be honest, when I first read the synopsis for The Host I had no interest in picking it up, but that was years ago when it first came out and everyone was all ‘Twilight sucks, rahhh’. I had forgotten all about this book and Stephenie Meyer until the movie adaptation was made, I ended up really enjoying the movie so I put this book on my To Be Read list. At the time I didn’t think I would ever get to this book because the sheer size of it was intimidating – over 800 pages in paperback form? Way too long for a typical young adult book!

Let me tell you. This book? This book was freaking awesome, I couldn’t put it down! I was addicted the entire time and couldn’t wait to pick it back up. I didn’t feel the length of the book, I didn’t think it was long winded or boring and I didn’t want to put it down. Even though I had seen the movie first and I already knew how the story went, I was still thoroughly entertained. Wanda and Melanie were interesting, the book was completely different to the movie in the respect of how it’s told on paper compared to on screen visually. Wanda and Melanie’s thoughts and struggles are clearer when we get to read them and I found myself getting pulled straight in.

The Host is very character driven which I loved because the character development of Wanda was fantastic. Getting to see how she changed and grew over the course of the book was interesting. I loved how at first Wanda referred to herself and Melanie as separate people but then as she got to know Melanie and understand her, Wanda referred to herself as ‘we’, two people who are one. The Host was also character driven by other characters in the book, Jamie, Jared, Jeb and Ian, each character had a strong voice and presence. I only just noticed that three of the character had names starting with the same letter, usually when that happens I forget who’s who, but in The Host Meyer had written each character in such a way that there was no mistaking who was who. I found myself wanting to see them in the story, I fell in love with the characters and the way they were portrayed.

Wanda and Melanie were easy to distinguish even though they shared the same body, their voices were very different but equally as strong as each other. I found myself sympathizing with Wanda yet wanting Melanie to succeed. Even though I had seen the movie first and knew how it ended I still felt the need to see both of them happy, I wanted to find out how it ended for them in the book. The Character relationships between all characters were so intense and so moving that you just couldn’t help but fall in love with them.

The souls themselves were so very interesting, I loved the mechanics of how they worked and what kind of species they were. I loved that each world they had been to was so vivid and described in such a way that you could imagine it. I really liked that they were aliens that were ‘outside of the box’, they weren’t ‘green men’ or destructive.

The romance in this book was amazingly interesting, it was weird because Wanda loved Jared simply because Melanie loved Jared and Wanda was in her body and remembering her memories. I really liked Ian, I liked that he fell for Wanda for who she was and how she thought, her appearance took no place in that. The tension between the four of them; Wanda, Melanie, Jared and Ian was realistic and appropriate. It was definitely interesting to see.

Stephenie Meyer is actually a pretty good storyteller in my opinion. The Host was very well written, her characters were strong, the world building was amazing, interesting and explained in a way that you didn’t even notice it was being explained, you could just see the world around Wanda and Melanie. I’m now excitedly waiting for her next books to see what she comes out with!

The Host is definitely one of  the best books I have ever read. It was fun, addicting, the characters and the world were highly developed and the idea for the plot, even though not wholly new, it was original in Meyers own voice and through the characters eyes.

In Summary:
– I absolutely loved The Host. I think it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, the world, the characters, the souls, the plot were just amazing.
– The Host was a lot of fun to read, even though the size of it is intimidating (800+ pages) I never felt the length of the book. I was pulled in and loved every minute of reading it.
– This book is very character driven, Wanda and Melanie have strong voices and even though they share a body they were easy to distinguish because their voices were so different. The secondary characters also had strong voices and a strong presence, they also moved the story.
– The souls themselves were an incredibly interesting species, Meyer did a great job of portraying them and their culture and to show just how different they were.
– The romance in this story was epic, I just loved the whole idea of how Melanie loved Jared with her whole body that it interfered with Wanda’s own feelings for Ian. It was a weird romance that twisted and became confusing for everyone involved but was very deep and moving.
– This book proves just how amazing a writer Stephanie Meyer is. 

Jord

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[Review #95] Winter Omens by Trisha Leigh

Winter Omens by Trisha Leigh Cover - Review Title: Winter Omens
Series: The Last Year
Book two
Author: Trisha Leigh
Genre: Paranormal, Science Fiction
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon]

Summary

Althea and Lucas barely escaped the Others’ clutches in the autumn, and were separated in the process. Alone and on the run from the cruel alien race determined to exterminate her, Althea struggles to adapt and survive in a world she never imagined. 

When a boy named Pax appears out of nowhere, he quickly recognizes Althea for what she is – a human/Other hybrid just like him. Althea begs him to help her find Lucas, but Pax refuses, intent on following his own mysterious agenda. 

The Others’ presence continues to devour the planet’s resources, and if history is an indication, they won’t leave until Earth is destroyed beyond repair. Althea and Pax sense the only way to save themselves – and maybe their home – is to understand the powers simmering inside them. 

Together they push the limits of their capabilities in the quiet Wilds, but are soon confronted with a terrifying fact: no place is safe from the relentless pursuit of the Others.

Least of all their own minds.

Review

Winter Omens was even better than the first book in the series, Whispers in Autumn. I was captivated right from the start, I felt like this book was faster paced in the writing than Whispers in Autumn which was something that I remember slowed Whispers in Autumn down for me. At times I did feel like it was a little tough to get through, like chewing on a tough steak and it takes you a while to finish it, but that never deterred me from reading on.

In the beginning of Winter Omens Althea has woken up in her Winter home base in Iowa, since the pack she had ready and packed back in her Autumn home base was now useless as she had woken up in another season, she very quietly and quickly grabs food and blankets she would need in the wilds. She knows she needs to go there to escape out of the reach of the Others. She was upset and angry that she was now separated from Lucas, whom was winter, and they never travelled to their own seasons. But she was determined to survive, she’s just not sure what to do next. Even though there isn’t much action at first I felt excited and thrilled to read the beginning because of the writing style and the fact I really had no idea what was going to happen next.

This book had an Ashes‘ feel minus the flesh eating zombies, as Althea and Pax roam the ‘Wilds’ trying to get to Portland all the while looking out for the Others (An Alien entity that took over earth years before Althea was born) and trying not to get killed. Althea is determined to figure out a way to get to Lucas but knows that she must travel to Portland to help Pax first, otherwise Pax would never agree to help her and her crazy plan of trying to save earth and the humans from the Others. The way Trisha Leigh reminded us of the events in book one was nice and subtle, she didn’t list down what had happened but instead slipped it in with Althea’s train of thought. I liked the way this was done.

I thoroughly liked Pax. Simply because he was a refreshing character in contrast to Lucas. Although I remember I never really warmed to Lucas, Lucas felt too much like a cardboard cut-out. Whereas Pax was sexier, badass, exciting and had more of an attitude and personality. It was fun to read his and Althea’s interactions. And with all the tension flying around them I simply couldn’t help but fall for Pax. This is a love triangle done right. This is a triangle that I know may just put me through a lot of pain through the next two books!

Winter Omens had me reeling near the end, it made me emotional and I just can’t stop thinking about how it snuck up on me. It hurt. But then it was amazing. And now I just can’t stop thinking about this book!

I definitely recommend you give this series a go. I was a huge fan of book one and book two was a hell of a lot better!

Similar: Tundra 37, Ashes,

Miss J

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[Review #60] Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout Review Title: Obsidian
Series: Lux
Book one
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published: 29th November, 2011
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Whitcoulls NZ]

Summary

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbour, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens. 

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. 

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

Review

Everyone raves about this book so much that I knew it could go either way for me. Luckily I loved it!

Obsidian had me dying to pick it back up after I had to put it down, every time. I would try and read it whenever I had time; before work, after work, a few cheeky times while during work, before bed and once as soon as I woke up. This book was addicting, steamy (As fas as a YA book can go) and exciting.

To be honest it did take me a while to get into the book. This was mainly because the first part of the book was mostly about the interactions with the main male character; Daemon and I didn’t know where the story was going. Plus there were way too obvious clues as to the fact that Daemon and Dee, his twin sister, were different yet we still hadn’t found out what was going on. Once it got to the reveal I felt like it could have come sooner. Still I enjoyed the interactions between Katy and Daemon, a few of them even had me blushing and some of them had me cringing in embarrassment.

I thought this book would be a quick, light read. I didn’t think I would get invested in the characters but I was wrong. At one point in the book I actually teared up, I think this has more to do with the way Jennifer L. Armentrout wrote the scene and how she described the event that made me tear up coupled with with the fact that it reminded me of how I never handle being humiliated very well. I loved the way Katy handled the situation though.

I love that Katy was so strong, she kept describing herself as being shy and a pushover but I never once saw her act like a pushover. I loved that she didn’t take any of Daemon’s crap and that continued throughout the whole book. That was very refreshing. Katy felt like a great main character for a YA book in my opinion. She didn’t swoon over the extremely hot bad boy, she just admitted she was attracted to him yet she still couldn’t stand him.

Daemon is definitely swoon worthy, but he is also a jackass. Usually this might piss me off. In this book it didn’t because Katy knew he was a jackass and always kept that in mind. She never forgot about it. Also because I felt like Daemon acting like a jackass had more to do with a defence mechanism that protected himself and Dee. He wasn’t just a jackass because he was arrogant or he got a thrill out of tormenting people. There were also moments where Katy (And the readers) got to see the real Daemon, the real Daemon was the Daemon I’m sure we all preferred. There were layers to him as a character. 

I admit I felt like there were a few cliché moments and reactions, I do remember rolling my eyes a couple of times and I admit that at times I had no idea what was going on around Katy because there was no description in surroundings except for what Katy was thinking. This wasn’t the most well written book, there felt like there was a lot of things missing and that at times it was perhaps focussed a little too much on the attraction between Katy and Daemon. But I still really enjoyed this book; it was entertaining, it moved me emotionally, and I connected with and really liked Katy.

Overall Obsidian was one very exciting and steamy book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was glad that in my opinion it lived up to the hype.

I recommend reading this book if you enjoy paranormal romance! Or aliens. Or steamy YA…

You may also like:
Whispers in Autumn by Trisha Leigh
The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Need by Carrie Jones
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Miss J

P.s. Check out my giveaway if you haven’t already!

[Review #49] Whispers in Autumn by Trisha Leigh

Title: Whispers in Autumn
Series: The Last Year
Book one
Author: Trisha Leigh
Published: 24th July, 2012
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Whitcoulls NZ]

Summary

In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots. 

Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all, and she doesn’t need the mysterious note inside her locket to tell her she’s Something Else. It also warns her to trust no one, so she hides the pieces that make her different, even though it means being alone. 

The autumn she meets Lucas, everything changes. 

Althea and Lucas are immune to the alien mind control, and together they search for the reason why. What they uncover is a stunning truth the Others never anticipated, one with the potential to free the brainwashed human race. 

It’s not who they are that makes them special, but what.

And what they are is a threat. One the Others are determined to eliminate for good.

Review

The first thing the drew me to this book was the gorgeous cover. The plot was the second thing, it sounded interesting and like something I hadn’t ever read. The last thing was that it was only $4 as a kindle book on amazon, how could I pass up that opportunity?

I’m glad I didn’t, because I really enjoyed this book and it was definitely something I had never read before.

The plot:
Althea lives in a world that is run by ‘The Others’, they are an alien race that has taken over the world and saved everyone from the dangers that threatened their lives. Like the animals that are outside the boundaries, they have diseases and kill anyone in sight. Everyone in the world is always happy and content, they listen and do as they’re told by the wardens. They never break any rules or curfew. They completely trust The Others, how could they not? The Others saved them. In fact, no one ever feels anything besides happiness and contentment.

Except Althea. Althea has been painfully aware since she was a child that she was different, that she felt things that no one else felt. She had different thoughts no one else thought. She moved from season to season, except Summer, without any control. Everyone looked through her, they barely noticed she was there. Ever since she could remember, she had a note that was written by a man named Ko, he told her she was different and that when the time came she would find others like her. And so her whole life she has hidden how different she is in the faith that one day she won’t have to hide any more. Ko is the only reason she has endured the lonely and painful existence that she is.

Then this one particular autumn, Althea meets Lucas. She instantly notices that he smells very strongly of pine, this is new and is something that she’s never encountered before. Somehow, something has changed.

The idea:
The idea of this book was very interesting. An alien race has taken over the earth and gained control of every human, any human that resists control or the control does not work on them, is declared Broken. Whenever anyone is Broken they usually never come back from the healers. And no one ever questions where they went.

At first I had no idea what was going on. We’re introduced to Althea and she’s thinking about how she’s just woken up in Danbury, when she fell asleep in Portland, that she just left one season behind and has now woken up in autumn in a different place in the country. This is usual for Althea, she randomly wakes up in different places in the different seasons although it is always the same family in the place she wakes up in, the amount of time she spends in one place always varies. The more I read the more it started to make sense but still not quite enough. At times I did feel overwhelmed with having no idea what was what in regards to her world.

I found myself confused for most of the book and still find myself confused a little. I was never really sure what happened when Althea left one place and woke in another, how did no one notice? I found myself trying to figure out if her physical body left each place or her consciousness left and woke up in her ‘Danbury’ body or ‘Portland’ body or whatever. It was never really clear what happened when she left. If she just disappeared or just reappeared how did no one notice? Was she that invisible? Even to her ‘parents’? I don’t think it was explained well enough to make sense to me. That could have been because Althea had no idea herself and didn’t seem to dwell on it.

It kept me guessing:
This book definitely kept me guessing. But not because I kept guessing wrong, it kept me guessing because I wasn’t really sure what was going on that I didn’t know what to guess was happening. I had suspicions but there was never any solid evidence because nothing was ever stated as fact until the end. They were only implied or passed over and when things are only implied it makes me think “Wait, is that linked to the reveal at the end? Should I remember that? Or was it just said in passing?” so I found myself wondering what it was that was really going on.

At the end, the reveal seemed to be something that I thought had known half way through the book. Something that I had thought the main characters themselves already knew. But then when it was ‘revealed’ and I realised the reason I had been so confused was because the MC’s hadn’t known that piece of information at all, it was just something they had speculated over. Or denied. So I found the reveal not to be revealing at all. It made sense to me half way through the book.

The physics
Althea has a unique ability. She heats up when she gets very emotional. She finds she can’t control it. She heats up so much that she burns things or sets things on fire if she touches them. I found this really interesting and cool. But one thing that I couldn’t stop wondering that was a major flaw, was that when she said things like “I was scared if I touched anyone or anything they would burst into flames,” then why weren’t her clothes already on fire if she was that hot? There was no explanation. I mean, did her whole body heat up that way? Or was it only her hands? It’s just logical sense really.

Overall:
Besides all of the confusion and the small niggle-y things that distracted me. I actually did enjoy this book, that was because I had never read something like this before. It felt new to me, refreshing and so very interesting. I do think there were things that could have been presented or portrayed better, the way things were explained needed a little more information or there were things that needed an explanation all together. But my curiosity over rode that and made me read on. Now I’m hooked.

Overall, I really liked this book and will definitely be picking up the next one.

Whispers in Autumn is more than a beautiful cover and interesting summary. It’s a very interesting and creative book that makes you want to power on and figure out what on earth is happening. Sometimes literally.

I recommend reading this book if you enjoy Science Fiction!

Miss J