Book Review: Relativity by Cristin Bishara

RelativityTitle: Relativity

Author: Cristin Bishara

Publication date: September 10, 2013

Publisher: Walker Childrens

Pages: 272

Source: Bought from Fully Booked

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked

Synopsis:

There are so many moments Ruby Wright wishes she could change. The moment her dad uprooted her from California to live in backwoods Ohio with their new stepfamily. The moment she moved away without telling her best friend George she loved him. The moment a car accident ended her mother’s life.

But no one can rewrite time. At least, that’s what physics-obsessed Ruby believes.

Then she stumbles upon a lightning-powered tree—a doorway to a series of parallel universes. How many possible worlds will Ruby have to explore to find the one with the perfect combination of people, relationships, and experiences? And is she willing to risk everything she has to get back what she has lost?

With a deft blend of science and heart, Cristin Bishara’s thought-provoking debut novel explored the laws of time and space…and the even more mysterious nature of love and loss.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Sheathed in thought-provoking situations and scientific intellect, Relativity is a novel illustrating the various possibilities existing between space and time. It tells the story of Ruby, a girl who moves with her dad from California to Ohio and discovers a tree that functions as a portal to parallel universes.

Although bewildering at times because of the mind-boggling scientific terms, mathematical equations, and theories, I still enjoyed Relativity! The concept of parallel universes is very fascinating. I like the burning potential surrounding the idea that such could exist in our world. And if they do, there could be many chances for us to start fresh or to change something in our life. Or perhaps choose the life we want to live in the universe we desire to be.

Ruby is a well-developed main character and I adore her! Reflective and physics loving, she’s persistent in finding the perfect life through the parallel universes. Each universe Ruby visited differs in surroundings, people, and circumstances that are far from the ideal life she wants. I love how Relativity spotlights the truth that there is no such thing as a perfect life. This story imparts the message that instead of dwelling on life’s imperfections, people should just embrace them. Rather than feel sorry for what you lack, be grateful for all that you have. Doing so would certainly make your life worth living. Author Cristin Bishara’s dynamic and genuine writing infused brilliance in this geeky and heartfelt story.

Absorbing and original, Relativity is the kind of novel that tugs at your heartstrings and at the same time feeds your brain with knowledge. Totally a unique YA science fiction!

 

Rating:

4/5 stars

 

 

Book Review: Blindsided by Natalie Whipple

BlindsidedTitle: Blindsided (Transparent, #2) 

Author: Natalie Whipple 

Publication date: January 2, 2014 

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Pages: 330 

Source: Finished copy provided by publisher (Thank you, Hot Key Books!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Book Depository / Hot Key Books

Synopsis: 

Three months after Fiona escapes from her father’s syndicate, all seems well in her tiny town of Madison, Arizona. She and Seth are happy together – apart from the teensy fact of Fiona being jealous that Seth can see through her invisibility – and her family and friends are safe. But when the local syndicate and even the Army show up, it’s clear there’s more going on in town than she could ever imagine. It seems like these huge powers are interested in the old Radiasure factory – could they be reproducing the infamous drug that caused mutations? – and everyone suspects Fiona of knowing more than she should. As Fiona and her friends try to cover their tracks, they discover that they do have some dangerous knowledge. Though at first determined to stop anyone from remaking Radiasure, Fiona learns a secret that could change everything, including her invisibility. Torn between her own desires and the greater good, Fiona might be too blindsided to see the real villain coming.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

After reading the last sentence in Transparent, I strongly felt that there’s a lot more to be explored in its unique world. I was so ecstatic when I learned that there’s going to be a sequel! Blindsided immediately became part of my 2014 TBR list. But waiting to read the sequels of books we love feels like a million years, doesn’t it? So I would like to thank the amazing Hot Key Books for sending me an early copy. 🙂

Blindsided. Wow. Natalie Whipple crafted a thrilling roller coaster ride of a story that amazed me in so many ways. All the intense situations, action-packed scenes, and unexpected twists pushed me to the edge of my seat. My heartbeat skipped along with every gasp that escaped my lips. The mystery and suspense surrounding the story made me feel like I was watching a crime/action movie the whole time I was reading! Each chapter ended with a cliffhanger or a string of questions that prompted my fingers to turn the next page.

In Blindsided, readers are carried back to Madison, Arizona, where main character Fiona and her mother appear to live a normal life. I appreciated Fiona in this book because she truly grew as a character. She is braver and better this time.

The significance of family is one of the things I loved in Transparent. I’m so happy that it still plays a huge part in the sequel. It was good to see Fiona’s mom fulfill the duties of a doting mother—taking care of her children and prioritizing their safety. Fiona’s brothers, Miles and Graham, are totally noteworthy. Miles has been the affectionate and watchful brother since Transparent. He’ll always be one of my favorite fictional brothers! Graham, on the other hand, surprised me a lot. It’s as if his bad reputation burned to the ground and a new Graham emerged from the ashes. I think the Graham portrayed in Blindsided is the real Graham—a devoted and concerned son and brother.

Fiona and her boyfriend Seth are closer than before. There are more sweet scenes between them that will make readers flail and squeal in excitement. Seth is a very charming, kind-hearted, loving, and patient guy. Not to mention overprotective because he fears losing the girl he loves. Oh. My. Heart! What more can Fiona ask for? On top of that, Seth is the only one who fully understands Fiona inside and out. However, Fiona’s issues about her invisibility and physical appearance put their relationship to the test.

Fiona’s friends, also known as The Pack, is back in full force with their all out support, great fighting spirit, and yes, funny antics. I can say that Blindsided is one of the books that best depict genuine friendship. The unity, strength, and faith displayed by the characters made their bond stronger.

A cool, smart, and fearless character whose initials are L and S is also introduced in Blindsided. It was such a delight to meet her! What I loved about L.S. is that her character added rhythm and spark to the story. Readers will definitely find her awesome! 

Blindsided proves that we can find true happiness when we let go of the things that make us feel bad and live life the way it is. 2014 is off to a great start with this remarkable tale of love, friendship, trust, and embracing everything that makes us who we are.

Rating:

4.5/5 stars

ARC Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

These Broken StarsTitle: These Broken Stars (Starbound #1)

Authors: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Publication date: December 10, 2013

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Pages: 374

Source: e-ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley (Thanks, Cassie!)

Purchase the book:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked 

Synopsis: 

It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

One of the reasons why I love reading science fiction is the sense of adventure and wonder it awakens in me. I like the way it allows my mind to explore the beauty of science in a fictional landscape. Science fiction makes me think outside of my shell and challenges me to see what extraordinary is all about. 

These Broken Stars is a remarkable tale of love, sacrifice, survival, and hope. It is YA science fiction at its utmost perfection. I went on a voyage across the universe between the pages of this book and I must say, it is phenomenal.

When I read the first chapter, I instantly knew that These Broken Stars will earn a spot in my “best books of 2013” list. The plot is brilliant and very unpredictable. Readers, you are in for surprises and twists! One never knows what will happen next and that’s one element I look for in a story. If a story has that, then it is fantastic and unputdownable.

I’m also impressed with the storytelling of this book as it generates great suspense, mystery, and curiosity. It coaxed out all kinds of emotions from my heart with every turn of the page. I felt broken, happy, sad, terrified, and in love. I floated in an infinite space of zero gravity, reveling in the magnificence of the story. My heart pounded with every tension-inducing situation the characters were in and I held my breath every time. It was totally mind-blowing! 

Beautifully written, These Broken Stars whisked me away from Earth and hauled me into a bizarre world. I can’t find the words to explain how different and spectacular this fictional world is from other books. But one thing I can say is that it’s very special. The story lingered in my head even after the final scene. I couldn’t start reading a new book because I wasn’t ready yet to go back to reality. I wanted to stay longer so I could explore what else the world of These Broken Stars has in store for me. A story like this really makes me wish that fictional places exist in real life. 

The main characters, Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen, are well developed. They have distinctive qualities that regard them noteworthy. These Broken Stars is told in alternate POVs of Lilac and Tarver. I love their fresh, engaging, and honest voices. 

Lilac and Tarver’s story starts when they meet in the gigantic spaceliner, Icarus. Both characters come from different classes of society. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe; while, Tarver is a young war hero who comes from a simple family. Then disaster strikes. The Icarus crashes into an unknown planet and Tarver and Lilac were the only ones who survived. Things didn’t go well between them at first. They were always bickering and trying to annoy each other. Soon, strange things start to happen and Lilac and Tarver have to trust each other in order to stay safe. 

As the story goes on, Lilac and Tarver fall in love. For me, their falling in love is the sweetest I have ever encountered. It was amazing to witness the spark between them ignite into flames slowly and passionately. Their chemistry is undeniable. It burns with love, faith, devotion, and understanding that is so genuine from the inside and out. Love is what propelled Lilac and Tarver to live and to survive, not only for their families but also for each other. The love that blossomed between them in the face of adversity became their strength and hope. 

This story will leave readers the message that love, trust, and determination transcend even the toughest circumstances in life.  

These Broken Stars is a breathtaking novel that undoubtedly redefines the beauty and thrill of science fiction. Definitely a MUST-READ for all sci-fi fans!

Rating:

5/5 stars

ARC Review: After Eden by Helen Douglas

12275873Title: After Eden

Author: Helen Douglas

Publication: November 7, 2013

Publisher: Bloomsbury Plc

Pages: 288

Source: e-ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley (Thank you, Bloomsbury!)

Synopsis:

Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she’s hooked. On the face of it, he’s a typical American teenager. So why doesn’t he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn’t heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he’s taking in her.

As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan’s bedroom – a biography of her best friend – written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose … and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.

*Image and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Time travel is one of my favorite concepts to read about when it comes to science fiction. I find it fascinating how a person can travel through time. I always wonder what it’s like to do that. Time travel is truly the closest thing to magic that the world of science fiction can offer.

After Eden is a unique and captivating debut novel. The lovely writing style and fresh voice that made the book a good read amazed me. Although the story is fast-paced, it didn’t feel rushed at all. The storytelling remained as engaging as it is since the first chapter. I found the time travel process in this book a little complicated and confusing at first; however, as the story went on the details were carefully laid out and explained well.

I also liked how After Eden is situated in the 21st century, which added a contemporary feel to the story. The book may be science fiction yet it very much captured real life. And it is through the setting and characters that I felt the story’s authenticity. It is evident that Helen Douglas understands teenage life today with the way she wrote the dialogues and descriptions.

Eden, the main character, has an appealing voice and I enjoyed reading her thoughts. She’s just a typical teenager until one day a mysterious and undeniably good-looking boy named Ryan enters her school. And her life changes extraordinarily. As Eden got to know him, she found him peculiar. Ryan has no idea what pizza is or who Hitler was, which are essential and prevailing facts that every person in the 21st century knows. Eventually Eden unravels Ryan’s biggest secret that explains why he acts strangely: he’s from the future! He traveled back in time to fulfill a mission that will help change the horrible future of planet Earth.

Eden and Ryan became close and developed feelings for each other. Everything happened so fast but I’m okay with it because both characters are great together. Their romance is effortless and very charming. It’s the kind of romance that starts with being friends until the relationship transcends into something more. Ryan is such a sweet guy. I love his character. So adorable and one of a kind! His swoon-worthy lines made me smile a lot and he’s definitely included in my list of favorite book boyfriends. He has eyes only for Eden and is not shy to show how much he likes her. But what I liked the most about Ryan is how he’s willing to give up his life in the future to be with Eden in the present. MY HEART MELTED. ❤

After Eden is a delightful YA sci-fi novel perfect for time travel fans. I look forward to reading the sequel!

 Rating:

3.5/5 stars

Book Review: Transparent by Natalie Whipple

TransparentTitle: Transparent

Author: Natalie Whipple

Published: May 16, 2013

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Pages: 352

Source: Copy provided by publisher

Synopsis: 

High school is hard when you’re invisible.

Fiona McClean hates her family, has had to move to a new school and seems to be completely invisible to the boy she likes. So far so normal, right? But Fiona really is invisible. She doesn’t even know what colour her own hair is.

Born into a world where Cold War anti-radiation pills have caused genetic mutations, Fiona is forced to work for her mind-controlling mobster father as the world’s most effective thief. When her father announces she must become a murdering assassin, Fiona and her telekinetic mother make a break for freedom. Running to a small Arizonian town, Fiona finds that playing at ‘normal life’ with a mother on the edge, a brother she can’t trust, and a boy who drives her crazy is as impossible as escaping her father.

*Image and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Transparent is one of my anticipated books this year and I was so giddy to start reading the story when I got a review copy from its awesome UK publisher (Thank you, Hot Key Books!). I sincerely looked forward to exploring its intriguing world.

Enveloped in a unique fusion of contemporary and science fiction, Transparent is a glowing debut novel that opened my eyes to the wonders of the impossible.

I was immediately attracted to its clear, plausible and flawless writing style. Information was not dumped in one chapter, which I really liked because it gives readers time to grasp the concepts, terms and the intricate world itself. The flashbacks are very helpful in knowing the history of certain scientific elements such as mutations and superhuman powers. Not only that, readers will get to view and understand the main character’s past. The sequences of events are very organized, resulting in a smoothly-paced story flow.

Born invisible, Fiona struggles with accepting her identity as well as fitting in with society, particularly at her new school. Fiona’s thoughts are very sincere and insightful which will make readers feel what she goes through internally. Fiona lived in fear and was always running away from complicated situations. As the story progressed, Fiona transitioned into a brave individual. That transformation would not be possible without her friends who made Fiona realize that there are people who care for and believe in her. With that, Fiona saw her worth and learned to embrace her true self.

Fiona’s friends also showed their full support to her in times of trouble and made her feel “normal.” They treated her like an ordinary person regardless of her peculiarity, that of being invisible. It is through them that Fiona experienced the normal teenage life she has long been wishing for.

In addition, I appreciate how the story highlighted the importance of family. Fiona’s close relationship with her brother, Miles, was really admirable. How I wish I have an older brother like Miles! Fiona has a rocky relationship with her mother and oldest brother, Graham, in the beginning of the story. However, everything was straightened out and resolved in the end. I was really pleased, specifically with Graham, when it was revealed that his mean attitude towards Fiona was for a good cause. I will not elaborate on the good cause, for the reason that I don’t want future readers of Transparent to be spoiled of a very significant moment. But I’ll give you this: it was a great “moment of truth” that definitely changed my negative perception of Graham.

Natalie Whipple created characters with unbelievable powers living in believable situations. Having said that, I believe it is the author’s superpower. I am fully amazed by her effortless creativity. Of all the interesting characters in Transparent, I was drawn to Seth the most because of his swoon-worthy charm, not to mention his really cool superpower of seeing through things. He was mean to Fiona at first but then became caring and understanding when they started hanging out.

As time went by, Fiona developed feelings for Seth, who also has feelings for Fiona…since the day he first saw her. Sweet! 🙂 What I love about Seth’s character is that he sees the real Fiona and accepts her despite the bad things she did in the past. Fiona is part of her crime lord father’s syndicate but Seth disregarded that fact. To him she is the only one that matters. And because of Seth, Fiona opened herself to the possibility of love, no matter how scared she was. Isn’t that amazing? Love is truly stronger than fear. 🙂

While the story is considered as science fiction, the contemporary aspect embedded within makes it relatable to everyday life. Transparent is an enlightening, funny and delightful read. I’m certainly looking forward to Blindsided!

Rating:

4/5 stars