Beyond a Darkened Sky by Dana Alexander

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Beyond the darkened sky by Dana Alexander begins as Sara awakens in a forest alone, but she feels like someone is watching her. They show themselves and partially explain who they are. She’s confused and lost as they explain to her who she is and why she’s there. Once again, science fiction is not my favorite genre and the story elements were confusing, even though the descriptions were well done, they were too deep for me. 3.5 stars.

Seize Today by Pintip Dunn

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review Seize Today by Pintip Dunn. The third book in the Forget Tomorrow series is told in Olivia’s point of view. I enjoy the sense of humor that Olivia has gained to help her handle her strange situation. Olivia has lived her whole life being belittled and neglected by her mother, the chairwoman, who wants to commit genocide on her own society. Olivia is brave and tricks her mother to help Ryder escape so the two of them can help the outsiders. The complexities of the world continue to grow and solutions continue to be brought to light. Olivia’s relationships become strained and she proves herself trustworthy over and over again to build her friendships and to build the trust her friends have in her. This final book of the series brings the plot full circle. 4 stars for the conclusion of this dystopian trilogy!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

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Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Young Readers Group for the opportunity to read and review Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. Jane is stuck in a rut, unhappy with her present life situation because she’s lost her loved ones and feels alone and desolate. Kiran, Jane’s ex-tutor, invites her to visit her rich family on their private island. She takes Kiran up on her offer and meets many new people. Jane accidentally eavesdrops and overhears a strange conversation. She discovers the jobs that Kiran’s family members and visitors pursue. Two art pieces are missing, presumably stolen, and Jane wants to solve the mystery. When the art mystery is solved, Jane learns about her aunt’s true past. Then the plot changes somewhat and the story becomes more science fiction than mystery. The story just got weirder and weirder after that with strayhounds and a place called Zorsted. Though, I do appreciate the author’s notes that help explain the path of writing that this book took during its creation and the research and sources that she used. 3.5 stars.

Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor

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I was able to read Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor thanks to a goodreads giveaway of a hardback book and thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an arc! Sparks of light continues the story from Into the Dim, the first book in this series. Hope is with Phoebe and their other companions in the Scottish Highlands. Everyone is adjusting to the drastic change in Hope’s mom and the baby she now has. Hope’s boyfriend Bran has gotten away from his mother, Celia, to tell the companions about his mother’s new plan. After Bran reveals Celia’s plan, the Viators make a plan of their own – to travel back to 1895 and visit Nikola Tesla and his discovery. The trip to 1895 causes extreme circumstances for Doug and Hope when they are involuntarily taken to an asylum and treated with the new drug, heroin. Intense and interesting and on the edge-of-your-seat suspense! Hope describes the asylum and its residents in detail. She also reiterates her previous knowledge of asylum history. Morbidly fascinating and scary. As the comrades work to visit Tesla, they encounter atrocities and tragedy in this time traveling adventure worth 5 stars! I am, once again, anxiously awaiting a sequel!

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

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Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth involves two peoples that have different beliefs and are enemies. Cyra ends up relying on and becoming friends with the enemy after he, Akos, is captured and forced into serving Cyra. Her brother thrives on hurting others and uses Cyra to accomplish this. Ryzek uses Cyra for everything he wants to gain through fear and intimidation. He wants to conquer all. Cyra and her servant Akos grow a friendship with trust and honesty which gives Cyra something she’s never experienced before. Her family has always been manipulative and cruel. Cyra and Akos are captured and the wound Ryzek gives Cyra made me physically sick. Revenge is all that Cyra wants against Ryzek because of every harm he has ever inflicted on her. This first book in the Carve the Mark duology builds the world setting and the character’s backgrounds and ends with an unfinished rebellion, leaving me ready for the sequel. 4 stars for this science fiction fantasy.

Warcross by Marie Lu

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Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Young Readers Group for the opportunity to read and review Warcross by Marie Lu! Emi is a young bounty hunter that lives on her own. She desperately needs a bounty or she’s going to be evicted from her apartment in less than three days. She’s smart enough and quick enough to capture a criminal for the police but they give the money to someone else! She goes back to her apartment, despondent, and resigns herself to enjoying the last hours she has with a roof over her head. She hacks into Warcross and her image shows up in the internationally played and viewed game. This catches the eye of the Warcross creator, Hideo, who gives Emi a very well-paid job offer. I appreciate that Marie Lu lets readers know, through dialogue, the correct pronunciation of Hideo’s name. I have heard many students/library patrons discuss name pronunciations in the past, unsure of how to say the name. The game background descriptions are detailed and aesthetic while the game is action-packed and the stakes raise higher and higher for the characters. 5 stars for a new sci-fi read from Marie Lu!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

The Unlocked by J.D. Stonebridge

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Unlocked by J. D. Stonebridge begins when a baby, Charlie, is rescued from a car accident. The couple that rescued Charlie also raises her. Charlie’s dialogue is staunch, stark, boring and she talks like she swallowed a textbook or a thesaurus. The dialogue becomes more smooth as the story progresses and the plot begins to take shape. The Unlocked is reminiscent of X-men because of the institute and powers, but the students aren’t born with their powers. The powers are unlocked with a syringe and a shot of a chemical mixture. Charlie learns of her twin sister because of the institute and she discovers that she and her twin sister Jeanne had their powers as long as they can remember and didn’t need to be unlocked. A sinister plot and deception are revealed as things spiral out of control. 4 stars for this science fiction mystery.

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow

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Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson Fiction for the opportunity to read and review The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber. The futuristic setting involves gaming with teenagers and children as the pawns. Sofi and her brother are part of the games because their mother is in charge of them and forced them to participate. An explosion occurs and her brother Shilo is kidnapped. Sofi contacts people that she knows are skilled enough to help her retrieve Shilo. Sofi has visions showing her what Shilo is going through, who he is with and where he is, all from his point of view. Sofi and her comrades discover what is happening to her brother and other children and it’s more horrific than they would have ever believed! The story ends on a cliffhanger, making me anxious to read the sequel entitled ‘Reclaiming Shilo Snow’. 4 stars for this sci fi dystopian!

Omega by Jus Accardo

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Omega by Jus Accardo! The sequel to Infinity focuses on the relationship between Noah and Ash. Ash has just literally run into Noah, but this isn’t the Noah she knows. The Noah she knows has supposedly committed suicide recently. The friction, chemistry and snark between Noah and Ash kept me entertained and the Omega mystery and danger the main characters are dealing with amped up the interest. The story becomes more complicated when two more characters are introduced. The ending leaves an opening for another sequel. 5 stars for a twisted science fiction read.

The Syndicate by Sophie Davis

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The Syndicate by Sophie Davis impressed me with its mix of science fiction and history. The story begins with the Prologue during May, 1796 in Florence, Italy, which is being occupied by Napoleon and the French army. The main character, Stassi, has stolen Napoleon’s letter to Josephine and she’s running to ensure her escape. She’s helped by her partner Gaige. They work for The Syndicate as runners and travel to the past to procure requested items that rich people pay a good chunk of money for. Gaige and Stassi later travel to 1925 Paris to collect a Rosenthal manuscript and they attend a party celebrating Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and its publication. Along with finding the manuscript, a serial killer on the loose adds to the suspense and danger. The elaborate cover stories of the runners, the historical background and interesting, dynamic characters make this a very fun science fiction read worthy of a 5 star rating!