SciFi Book Review: Mila 2.0

Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

Mila was living with her mother in a small Minnesota town when she discovered she was also living a lie. She was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was never supposed to remember the past.

Now she has no choice but to run–from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much, and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology.

Evading her enemies won’t help Mila escape the cruel reality of what she is and cope with everything she has had to leave behind. However, what she’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and that just might save her life.

Mila is still grieving for her late father. Though, her memories are choppy and confusing after an accident. And her mother seems to be acting strangely around her, keeping her at arm’s length. She has only made a couple friends, since arriving in Minnesota. But when the new guy in school shows interest in her, suddenly her best friend completely changes. And not for the better. When Mila is in an accident, she discovers something even more devastating. She’s not human. And Mila’s blooming romance is cut short, when she and her mother have to flee from dangerous men who will stop at nothing to get her technology.

This science fiction adventure is an impressive debut by a talented new author. This fast-paced, action-packed thriller is impossible to put down. Mila 2.0 is non-stop excitement and suspense from beginning to end. The story unfolds in a dramatic way, with an incredibly strong and well-developed heroine. Futuristic technology paired with the intensity of a spy novel, both teens and adults alike should enjoy this one. First in a planned trilogy, I can’t wait for the next. This has certainly made the list of my favorite reads for 2013.

SciFi Book Review: Earth Girl

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. Eighteen-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, she has been abandoned by her parents. She can’t travel to other worlds, but she can watch their vids, and she knows all the jokes they make. She’s an ape, a throwback, but this is one ape girl who won’t give in.

Jarra makes up a fake military background for herself and joins a class of norms who are on Earth for a year of practical history studies excavating the dangerous ruins of the old cities. She wants to see their faces when they find out they’ve been fooled into thinking an ape girl was a norm. She isn’t expecting to make friends with the enemy, to risk her life to save norms, or to fall in love.

Jarra is bright and brave, and leaves behind an easy life to prove that she’s not truly handicapped. Her off world classmates are a variety of vibrant characters. Their interactions were engaging and brought life to the story. And Jarra’s relationship with Fian brings a bit of a romance angle as well.

This is a truly remarkable science fiction debut. It may be marketed to young adults, but like many other “YA” novels, adults will enjoy just as much. This is a true space opera – though much of Jarra’s adventures take her back to Earth as well. The drama, adventure, and character development made this novel impossible to put down. Jarra is a fascinating character whose world view is completely changed by her experiences, taking her to the brink emotionally. And Jarra makes an unforgettable impact on her classmates as well. I highly recommend this fantastic science fiction novel. Earth Girl will certainly be on my list of favorites this year.

Wasteland Book Tour: Guest Post

Authors Laurence Klavan and Susan Kim visit today for the first stop on their blog tour, promoting their new release Wasteland!

Welcome to the Wasteland. Where all the adults are long gone, and now no one lives past the age of nineteen. Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan’s post-apocalyptic debut is the first of a trilogy in which everyone is forced to live under the looming threat of rampant disease and brutal attacks by the Variants —- hermaphroditic outcasts that live on the outskirts of Prin. Esther thinks there’s more to life than toiling at harvesting, gleaning, and excavating, day after day under the relentless sun, just hoping to make it to the next day. But then Caleb, a mysterious stranger, arrives in town, and Esther begins to question who she can trust. As shady pasts unravel into the present and new romances develop, Caleb and Esther realize that they must team together to fight for their lives and for the freedom of Prin.

Our Visions of the Future:

LAURENCE: The last thing I am is a scientist or sociologist, but I imagine the future will be driven by changes in technology and the disintegration of the environment. Both things will dictate that we spend more time indoors hiding and/or being entertained. This will be bad news for schools, stores, theaters, beaches, sports arenas, restaurants, and dating, and good news for books (or whatever replaces them), television (or whatever replaces it), frozen food and enforced time with your family. I would invest in companies that make entertainment and other content for electronic devices and those that build houses on stilts and reinforced basements.

SUSAN: I just read an article online about predictions made in 1998 about 2013 (which isn’t even that long… I mean, there already was an internet, so big deal, right?) and how they got stuff wrong like assuming we’d all have robot maids by now. But anyway, here are my totally unscientific predictions, based on my own anxieties and neuroses and overall pessimism as opposed to anything REAL.

1) The environment will be beyond messed up. The bad things that happen now every few years around the world will happen all the time, everywhere: earthquakes leading to tsunamis leading to nuclear meltdowns, hurricanes breaching city walls, crop-scorching dust bowls, shrinking arctic shelves. And the creepy stuff re. runoff and chemicals in our water will get even worse…. I predict heavy-duty mutation in our not-so-distant future and a reliance on purely laboratory-made food.

Read moreWasteland Book Tour: Guest Post

Book Giveaway: The Beyonders: Chasing the Prophecy

Courtesy of Aladdin Books, I have a copy of The Beyonders: Chasing the Prophecy by Brandon Mull for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends April 26. I’ll draw a name on April 27, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

Read moreBook Giveaway: The Beyonders: Chasing the Prophecy

SciFi Book Review: Pulse

Pulse by Patrick Carman

With the help of her mysterious classmate Dylan Gilmore, Faith Daniels discovers that she can move objects with her mind. This telekinetic ability is called a “pulse,” and Dylan has the talent, too.

In riveting action scenes, Faith demonstrates her ability to use her pulse against a group of telekinesis masters who are so powerful they can flatten their enemies by uprooting streetlights, throwing boulders, and changing the course of a hurtling hammer so that it becomes a deadly weapon. But even with her unusual talent, the mind—and the heart—can be difficult to control. If Faith wants to join forces with Dylan and save the world, she’ll have to harness the power of both.

Faith is a seemingly average girl, though tall and only attracted to tall guys. She’s immediately attracted to a mysterious boy who turns out to be hiding a dark secret. But later she discovers that she can control objects with her mind. And she’s not the only one. There’s a lot of teen angst – between Faith’s crushes and a jealous sister. But there’s a lot of dark, heart-breaking drama as well. The villains are truly evil. And I like Faith’s rebellious character. I only wish Dylan’s quiet personality was fleshed out a bit more.

This is the first in a new dystopian trilogy, with plenty of drama, suspense, action, romance, and super-powered antics. It has the feel of a very dark, post-apocalyptic, young X-Men versus an enemy with a yet unknown agenda. Not enough answers were given in this first installment, in my opinion. There are a lot of secrets, some reveals, but not enough to remember by next year’s sequel. I enjoyed the unique story and premise of this trilogy, but I preferred Carman’s Atherton series much more. Pulse just seemed to sacrifice character development for the exciting plot and shock value.

Fantasy Book Review: The Essence

The Essence by Kimberly Derting

At the luminous conclusion of The Pledge, Charlaina defeated the tyrant Sabara and took her place as Queen of Ludania. But Charlie knows that Sabara has not disappeared: The evil queen’s Essence is fused to Charlie’s psyche, ready to arise at the first sign of weakness.

Charlie is not weak, but she’s being pushed to the brink. In addition to suppressing the ever-present influence of Sabara, she’s busy being queen—and battling a growing resistance determined to return Ludania to its discriminatory caste system. Charlie wants to be the same girl Max loves, who Brook trusts, but she’s Your Majesty now, and she feels torn in two.

As Charlie journeys to an annual summit to meet with leaders of nearby Queendoms—an event where her ability to understand all languages will be the utmost asset—she is faced with the ultimate betrayal. And the only person she can turn to for help is the evil soul residing within.

Charlie is still the same humble girl from before she was queen. But now she battles the malevolent former queen from inside her own head. This is like multiple personality disorder, but where both personalities are aware of each other. The rising unrest within her own country must take a backseat when Charlie decides to join the summit of the neighboring realms. Then, on the way to summit it becomes clear that there is a traitor in their midst. Charlie is completely out of her element surrounded by the other queens, but because of her innocence and humility, she still seems to be welcomed. And suddenly Charlie’s relationship with Max becomes complicated when she begins to feel a pull towards someone she has just met.

This is an absorbing and moving sequel to last year’s The Pledge. Derting weaves a complex plot with engaging characters. Full of suspense, intrigue, drama, and a bit of romance – The Essence is a fantastic novel that is nearly impossible to put down. Just as enjoyable as the first, this sequel builds to an exciting conclusion that left me pining for the next (and final) installment in this unique dystopian fantasy trilogy.

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