DNF Review- Invaded by Melissa Landers

InvadedInvaded
By: Melissa Landers
Release Date: February 3rd 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Read to page 238

Summary:
Cara always knew life on planet L’eihr would be an adjustment. With Aelyx, her L’eihr boyfriend, back on Earth, working to mend the broken alliance between their two planets, Cara is left to fend for herself at a new school, surrounded by hostile alien clones. Even the weird dorm pet hates her.

Things look up when Cara is appointed as human representative to a panel preparing for a human colony on L’eihr. A society melding their two cultures is a place where Cara and Aelyx could one day make a life together. But with L’eihr leaders balking at granting even the most basic freedoms, Cara begins to wonder if she could ever be happy on this planet, even with Aelyx by her side.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Aelyx, finds himself thrown into a full-scale PR campaign to improve human-L’eihr relations. Humans don’t know that their very survival depends on this alliance: only Aelyx’s people have the technology to fix the deadly contamination in the global water supply that human governments are hiding. Yet despite their upper hand, the leaders of his world suddenly seem desperate to get humans on their side, and hardly bat an eye at extremists’ multiple attempts on Aelyx’s life.

The Way clearly needs humans’ help . . . but with what? And what will they ask for in return?

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed Alienated so had fairly high expectations for Invaded, though I did have some reservations since first book left off with it being inevitable that Cara and Aelyx would be apart for the majority of the sequel. Their dynamic and chemistry was my favorite aspect of the first novel so this was a major concern and I really think this was the reason I was never able to really get into Invaded.

The pacing felt slower to me but it was probably due to my lack of connection to the characters this time around. I wasn’t nearly as fond of Cara in this book though I can’t pin-point why. I didn’t dislike her by any means I just felt that she was harder to relate to? We do get to meet many more L’eihr because Cara is living on their planet. I was pretty let down by the planet in general since it wasn’t all that different from Earth (though I guess this does make sense) and the society wasn’t structured all that much differently either.

Aelyx was still on Earth and tasked with trying to make peace and an alliance between the two worlds. Though each of the characters was struggling to cope with their new situation neither stories really gripped me.

Really I can’t say anything was wrong with the section I read (more than half way) My biggest problem was that I found it impossible to get fully immersed in the story and it was a struggle for me to pick the book up to read. I’ve been working on it for a few weeks and found that I was pushing it aside for other books. For me, I felt that I should abandon it for now rather than forcing myself to continue. I hope to feel more in the mood for this type of story and try again at a later date.

Have you read Invaded? What were your thoughts and should I continue it later?

Review of Soulprint by Megan Miranda

SoulprintCoverSoulprint
By: Megan Miranda
Release Date: February 3rd 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Alina Chase has been contained on an island for the last 17 years—whether that’s for the crimes of her past life, or for her own protection, well, that depends on whom you ask. With soul-fingerprinting a reality, science can now screen for the soul, and everyone knows that Alina’s soul had once belonged to notorious criminal, June Calahan, though that information is supposed to be private. June had accomplished the impossible: hacking into the soul-database, ruining countless lives in the process.

Now, there are whispers that June has left something behind for her next life—something that would allow Alina to access the information in the soul-database again. A way to finish the crimes she started.

Aided by three people with their own secret motivations, Alina escapes, only to discover that she may have just traded one prison for another. And there are clues. Clues only Alina can see and decipher, clues that make it apparent that June is leading her to something. While everyone believes Alina is trying to continue in June’s footsteps, Alina believes June is trying to show her something more. Something bigger. Something that gets at the heart of who they all are—about the past and the present. Something about the nature of their souls.

Alina doesn’t know who to trust, or what June intends for her to know, and the closer she gets to the answers, the more she wonders who June was, who she is, whether she’s destined to repeat the past, whether there are truths best kept hidden—and what one life is really worth.

My Thoughts:
I loved the idea behind Soulprint– that a soul is reborn over and over carrying with it personality traits and perhaps violent intentions. Because of this June has been locked up for the crimes of the person her soul belonged to prior to her. What a creepy and fantastic storyline! It reminded me a bit of Minority Report and provoked a lot of thought for me.

Miranda created a realistic situation in some regards, though I did have some problems with logistics. I kept questioning motives as I read but by the end my questions were addressed. Reading that summary I expected June’s crimes to be brutal and horrifying…I was a tad disappointed and underwhelmed with her criminal nature. My morbid brain went much darker places than this story went I was let down a small amount. The idea was so strong and fantastic I felt that the actual crime and issues Alina dealt with were underwhelming to say the least.

Once I was able to drop my personal expectations and allow myself to get immersed in the story the author wanted to tell I really did enjoy this book. I felt that it was well thought out and though some execution felt a tad rocky it was always tied up in the end. The pacing was fast for the most part and the action scenes were wonderfully vivid and incredibly easy to visualize. I could see this being made into a film successfully.

The characters were likeable and not a single character was one dimensional or strictly good or bad. I loved getting to know each of them more and felt that Alina was a wonderful lead. I loved that she took matters into her own hands and had flaws and weaknesses. There was a small amount of romance but it was second to the storyline which was a nice change of pace from the books I’ve been reading recently.

Final Thoughts:
Soulprint had a really wonderful story-line that encouraged thought and contemplation. My expectations going in were a bit darker than the reality of this book but I still enjoyed it because of the action sequences and strong lead character.

Review of Shutter by Courtney Alameda

ShutterCoverShutter
By: Courtney Alameda
Release Date: February 3rd 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:
star

Summary:
Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She’s aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera’s technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn’t exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she’s faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

My Thoughts:
That cover is SO CREEPY. I had to turn the book over as I read because that face staring at me was not working. I found Shutter to be a somewhat creepy read that I enjoyed though didn’t love. I had a bit of a disconnect with the characters though I did like them. I think I would have been more scared if I had been more emotionally attached. Regardless, the story’s pacing and action sequences did work for me. There was a countdown aspect to the story- only so much time to solve the case or DEATH- and this did add tension (obviously). I enjoyed watching the soulchain curse grow on the character’s bodies…I’ve noticed lately I really delight in the character’s pain. Not sure what this says about me?

The story was told from Micheline’s point of view. I enjoyed the character’s unique skills that allowed them to excel in ghost hunting and thought it was especially wonderful to include an analog SLR camera as a weapon against spiritual entities. I’m a photographer (for fun) and so I had an easy time connecting to this aspect of the story. Trapping ghosts on film and then developing said film? Awesome! I loved the visuals of watching the images show up while alone, in a dark room. Where my disconnect came was with the secondary characters as well as the romance.

There wasn’t anything wrong with the interactions between characters I just had trouble really feeling the chemistry between them. I think with additional books I’d come to love the characters more? I hope so.  The romance was well done but it didn’t sweep me away and honestly was a tad forgettable. That’s sort of my problem with the book–the characters didn’t stick with me. I will say that some of the ghost scenes did. A month or so after reading I still remember many of the ghost interactions and think they were done so incredibly well. For me, that was the highlight of the book.

Final Thoughts:
Shutter was well worth the read and brought some fun aspects to the horror genre (there needs to be more in YA). If a sequel is released I’d want to read it since I feel these characters have great potential. I connected very well to the horror and action aspects but never had the emotional draw to the characters that I’d have preferred. Regardless, this was an entertaining read that had great ghost imagery and action sequences.