Friday, February 27, 2015

Soulprint ~ Megan Miranda (earc) review [@MeganLMiranda @BloomsburyKids]

Bloomsbury USA Childrens
February 3, 2015
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from TBD/or Amazon

A new literary, sci-fi thriller from acclaimed author Megan Miranda.

With the science of soul-fingerprinting a reality, Alina Chase has spent her entire life imprisoned for the crimes her past-self committed. In an attempt to clear her name, Alina unintentionally trades one prison for another when she escapes, aided by a group of teens whose intentions and motivations are a mystery to her. As she gets to know one of the boys, sparks fly, and Alina believes she may finally be able to trust someone. But when she uncovers clues left behind from her past life that only she can decipher, secrets begin to unravel. Alina must figure out whether she’s more than the soul she inherited, or if she’s fated to repeat the past.

This compelling story will leave readers wondering if this fictional world could become a reality.

I loved the way Megan Miranda uses science in her novels; first in 2012's Fracture and then in its sequel, Vengeance.  In Soulprint, soulprinting, like fingerprints but with souls, is a reality. The ramifications of what this means for society and the individual - that souls are born again and again and can be tracked - is still being discovered.

One person who knows just how much it can mean is Alina Chase. She was born with a soul that previously belonged to a now infamous young woman. She has spent her whole life isolated, in a de facto prison for her protection and the public's. It doesn't matter how much she hears of her past self's crimes, Alina knows that's not her. She's her own person.

If only she could prove it.

When the chance for escape comes, Alina gladly takes it. Only to find she may not have achieved the freedom she was imagining.

The twists and the understanding (and lack thereof) in Soulprint make for a very enjoyable, thrilling tale. We know from the beginning that Alina is infamous in her own right for things done by her soul in a past life. However, we don't know exactly what those things are.

There is, of course, curiosity about what was so terrible to necessitate the life Alina lives, but not knowing makes you more invested in Alina's desire to uncover the truth. We learn more and more about who she is even knowing that her 'soul' supposedly did something so horrible very recently. It's an interesting contrast and raises interesting questions.

The mystery and Alina's journey were so much better than I could have imagined. The other characters a great addition and seeing their attitude towards Alina, how it changes, gives a nice idea of how someone in that reality sees her.

I really like how the author handled the entire idea of souls. It is scientific (even if it's theoretically science) but doesn't ignore religion, either. It creates a very plausible, well balanced, idea.

The premise, characters, and story of Soulprint are very enjoyable and the development, the mystery make for a great read.

thank you to the publisher for my egalley through NetGalley

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thursday Thirteen [2014 TBR]


Thirteen 2014 Books I Want to Read
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun!

Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Have you read any of these? Let me know which one I should bump to the top of the list!

Are there 2014 books that you haven't read yet, but still really want to? Tell me what they are.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Walking on Trampolines ~ Frances Whiting (earc) review [@franceswhiting @GalleryBooks]

Walking on Trampolines
Gallery Books
February 3, 2015
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from TBD/or Amazon

Praised as "a tender exploration of friendship, families, and first love" (Liane Moriarty, New York Times bestselling author of The Husband's Secret), this coming-of-age novel from bestselling author Frances Whiting is equal parts heartwarming, accessible, and thought provoking.

"Tallulah de Longland," she said slowly, letting all the Ls in my name loll about lazily in her mouth before passing judgment. "That," she announced,"is a serious glamorgeous name."

From the day Annabelle Andrews sashays into her classroom, Tallulah 'Lulu' de Longland is bewitched: by Annabelle, by her family, and by their sprawling, crumbling house tumbling down to the river.

Their unlikely friendship intensifies through a secret language where they share confidences about their unusual mothers, first loves, and growing up in the small coastal town of Juniper Bay. But the euphoria of youth rarely lasts, and the implosion that destroys their friendship leaves lasting scars and a legacy of self-doubt that haunts Lulu into adulthood.

Years later, Lulu is presented with a choice: remain the perpetual good girl who misses out, or finally step out from the shadows and do something extraordinary. And possibly unforgivable . . .

It's not how far you fall, but how high you bounce.

Whether it was because I didn't read the summary carefully enough or what, I'm not sure, but I was expecting something different from Walking on Trampolines. Something more solely focused on Lulu and Annabelle's teen and young adult years. Frances Whiting's novel is so much more, though. It's really an astounding read.

The quote, from Liane Moriarty, that's on the front of the book, "a tender exploration of friendship, families, and first love," could not be more true. A lot of ground, a lot of years are covered in the 368 pages: from Annabelle and Tallulah meeting in school, becoming best friends, their teen years together, their interactions with each other's families,  the end of that friendship, and what follows.

Whiting created a really interesting dynamic with Lulu and Annabelle's friendship. Both girls are from families that are, in their own way, not quite conventional; though it's more readily apparent with Annabelle's family. How the two of them fit together, how they fit with each other's families shows us a lot of who the girls are. Their friendship is undeniable.

Their differences (individually and of their families, parents) really show us who the characters are. The involvement of their whole families, of the drama and/or difficulties therein not only fills out the girls' characters, it makes the story that much more engrossing. I like the characters the author's created in their parents. They're different and I loved seeing the different impacts each had on Lulu and Annabelle.

Then when their friendship in ruins, the story continues being great. Whether Lulu and Annabelle want the other in their lives anymore doesn't quite matter. They may be out of sight, but they can never quite be out of mind. Their lives were so intertwined for so many years, there just can't be a clean break.

As enjoyable as it was to read about their friendship, this part was at least as good. We see Lulu on her own, what her life without Annabelle as a best friend looks like. Where things went from here, the new characters introduced, the older characters we really got to know, the growth of Lulu's character, were fantastic.

A lot - a lot - happens after Lulu and Annabelle's friendship implodes. To say much at all of what would be spoilery and no fun, but do know that it's great. I absolutely enjoyed France Whiting's novel and am looking forward to her next one, whatever it may be.

review copy received, via NetGalley, from publisher

Waiting On Wednesday [@megan_shepherd @BalzerandBray @harperteen]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:

THE CAGE by Megan Shepherd

The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in this gripping new series about teens held captive in a human zoo by an otherworldly race. From Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of The Madman's Daughter trilogy.

When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn't know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn't alone.

Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora's past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren't from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.

As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer—though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so . . . what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?

published May 26, 2015 by Balzer+Bray

add to your Goodreads shelf // pre-order from Book Depository // or Amazon


There are so, so many reasons I want to read The Cage! There's the Maze Runner and Scott Westerfeld mentions - those two are great enough on their own, but the idea of a the two of them 'meeting'is that much more amazing.

Then there is how much I loved Shepherd's The Madman's Daughter. I loved the writing, the characters and the way the story developed.

I absolutely looking forward to The Cage, I cannot wait to read it!

That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments and/or link me to your own post!
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