Review : Genesis (Project Nemesis #2) by Brendan Reichs

Genesis (Project Nemesis, #2)

I wasn’t sure Project Nemesis by Brendan Reichs was a series I wanted to continue with but I’m so glad I did as book 2, Genesis, is absolutely brilliant. Packed full of action from the very first page to the very last and with more than a few twists this is seriously addictive reading.

Note: as this is the second book in a series there will be spoilers for the first book from here on in.


Noah Livingston knows he is destined to survive.

The 64 members of Fire Lake’s sophomore class are trapped in a place where morals have no meaning, and zero rules apply. But Noah’s deaths have trained him–hardened him–to lead the strongest into the future . . . whatever that may be. And at any cost.

Min Wilder knows that survival alone isn’t enough.

Trapped in a violent world where brute force passes for leadership, it’s tempting to lay back and let everyone else fight it out. But Min’s instincts rebel against allowing others to decide who lives and who dies. She’s ready to fight for what she believes in. And against whomever might stand in her way.


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I finished the first book in this series I have to admit I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue. I loved the premise but didn’t connect to any of the characters and felt there was maybe too much going on. I couldn’t however resist Genesis when it popped up on NetGalley as I was just too curious about where the story would go.

It turned out this was a very good decision as this is a very enjoyable read. It picks up not long after the dramatic conclusion of the first book with a bang (literally) and the pace never lets up. I will admit that I’d forgotten some of what happened (and what was revealed) in Nemesis so was a little confused in the beginning but it didn’t take long for me to get back up to speed.

I’m not going to say much about the plot but there are elements of Lord of the Flies, the Hunger Games & Battle Royale all mashed up with something quite unique and different. There are more than a few twists and turns and I loved how the dynamics of the various groups of characters changed and developed with each new reveal. I will admit I’m not wholly convinced by some of the science behind it but I was willing to go with it and it did answer a lot of the questions that I had from the first book.

There is a lot more action in this book and, I should warn, a lot more violence and death, some even I found shocking. It does however raise a lot of issues over how far you would go to survive or to gain power but also what you’d be willing to sacrifice for your beliefs and those you care about. I thought the way the author used a diverse mix of characters to demonstrate this was very well done.

Unfortunately though the number of characters in this book was also something I struggled with. There are various different groups and a lot of different names and changing allegiances to keep track of. I don’t have the best memory for names I’m afraid so I did get muddled on who was who from time to time before deciding it didn’t really matter and focusing on the main ones.

Like Nemesis, this book is told in alternating chapters from the povs of Min and Noah and they really are intriguing characters. Both have had similar experiences but react in different ways. Min is the steadier and more stable of the two and I loved how she held onto her morals and beliefs. Noah was however much more erratic and therefore interesting. It is so good to see a male lead who is so uncertain and anxious. He makes mistakes and deals with things badly but I still found myself rooting for him and hoping he’d come good.

I did feel some of the other characters were a little stereotyped and I would have loved to get to know them better but with so many characters and so much going on there just wasn’t time.

This is a seriously action packed and fast paced story and I pretty much read the whole thing in a day, I couldn’t put it down. It’s not perfect but it is a series I’d recommend. I’m hoping that there’s a book 3 as I want to know what happens next.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own.

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Shatter Me
by Tahereh Mafi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first half of this book was easily a five star read, intriguing and addictive with a style that was truly unique. I felt like it lost focus in the second half but I still can’t wait to read the rest of this series.


Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.


Okay, I know I am very possibly the last person on the planet to actually read this book and everyone is off reading Restore Me the first book in the new trilogy but for some reason I’ve never really been able to find it. It’s one of those series that everyone seems to go on about how much they either love or hate it but while I was really desperate to read it (so I could make up my own mind) it just wasn’t on Amazon (and okay I could have ordered it from somewhere else but I’m lazy).

Needless to say when it popped up on NetGalley I started hammering that request button like a request button hammering machine (these should totally exist) and hurrah my request was approved (thank you NetGalley gods). As you can probably guess I had to start reading it immediately, and from the very first few pages it blew me away.

The style of it is just so unusual but so absolutely brilliant, I loved it. There was a warning at the start from the publisher that there would be crossed out words, numbers and generally just jumbled sentences and repetition and that this was deliberate (I guess some people have complained) and this really intrigued me and I thought worked so well for the story. Main character Juliette has been locked away, completely alone for almost a year so I think having some slightly scatty thoughts should be expected. I’m not sure what this says about me but there was so much I could relate to in terms of how her mind worked. Becoming fixated on things, getting easily distracted by objects that catch your eye and counting when stressed are all things I have been known to do on occasion so for me this seemed, not quite normal but certainly understandable.

This also made me sympathetic towards Juliette from the very beginning and I have to say that as a character I did like her a lot. I felt incredibly sorry for her, the prison spell is just the latest in a long list of bad things that have happened to her, but for the most part I really admired her. It would be so easy for her to be angry or dark but she fights all of the time to be a good person and to not hurt anyone.

The beginning of this book was definitely the highlight for me and I felt certain this was going to be a five star read. I loved the confined setting and the way the relationship between Juliette and her new cell mate Adam develops, I loved the writing style and how stream of conscious-like it was and I loved how the author slowly introduced this dystopian world through Juliette’s memories and Adam’s updates. I even loved when Juliette was plucked from her confinement and given the option of freedom in exchange for working as a weapon for the Reestablishment.

Captor and potential savior Warner is an absolutely wonderful villain. There’s something about him that could most certainly turn you to the dark side even while he’s being completely evil. He can rationalize everything and almost convince you that he’s right. The scenes between him and Juliette were absolutely wonderful. He tempts and torments and somehow worms his way into her mind, promising everything she could ever want while showing her just how dark he is. I really wanted as much of him as possible.

It is however around this point that I felt the book began to lose its way and what began as an intriguing dystopian turned into more of a romance. I do like a good romance and was definitely on board with that ship but it seemed to take over the whole story and was focused on at the most inappropriate of times. Yes, they may be on the run, seriously injured, possibly dying but let’s just have a big long conversation about our feelings, rather than ya know running, getting help. Added to this the wonderful style used in the beginning was gradually phased out as Juliette became used to being around other people. I do understand this, it makes sense with the story but combined with the focus on the relationship it became a little bit average (sorry).

It is for the most part an intriguing and exciting story and had the focus not shifted this would have received the full five stars from me but unfortunately the second half was a little too heavy on the romance (and I read a lot of romance). I am however very excited about reading the rest of the books in the series and pre ordered the lot. I’m keeping everything crossed it returns to form, I really think it will.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book. As always this has not influenced my review.

Book Review: The Crown by Kiera Cass

The Crown (The Selection, #5)The Crown by Kiera Cass

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fantastic ending to the series.

*Warning review may include spoilers for previous books in the series*

If anyone has read any of my other reviews of the Selection Series you’ll know that I’ve always had kind of mixed feelings about it. Of the original Selection trilogy I only really liked the first book in the series as the love triangle drove me slightly insane and I decided that America was possibly the most annoying character ever in the history of the world (ok I may be exaggerating)

I don’t know what convinced me to pick up The Heir (probably the cover) but I found in Eadlyn a much more likeable character (which wouldn’t be difficult) and I loved the flip to the other side of the Selection process. Although possibly I’m just fantasizing about having 35 eligible bachelors competing for my hand in marriage. I found myself completely addicted to the story and I think I read the whole book from start to finish in a few hours.

As it finished on a bit of a cliff hanger (grrr!) I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the Crown. How would it all end? Would Eadlyn finally stop trying to be so perfect and turn into a real person? What would happen to America and Maxon? And, would Eadlyn find a husband from the remaining contenders or walk away from the whole thing?

I have to admit I was kind of hoping she wouldn’t pick anyone and do her own thing even though I know most people had their favourite SHIP.


The story picks up almost immediately after the Heir with everyone reeling from the big shock at the end. As the king and queen are unable to rule Eadlyn’s forced to temporarily step into the breach and act as monarch. Despite now ruling the country of Illea, having to deal with difficult advisors, keeping the country stable and proving that she is fit to rule, she decides to continue with the selection process in the hopes of garnering the support of her people.

She narrows the contestants down to six but as the country becomes more unsettled and her rule comes under threat she feels she has to choose quickly but the big question is who will she pick and will it be for love or duty?


I know a lot of reviews have been very critical of Eadlyn but in all honesty I like her a lot as a character and I found her story a lot more interesting and appealing than that of America. I like that she is quite reserved and finds it difficult to open up to people. Given her upbringing and the fact that she’s had it drilled into her since birth that she will be queen and will have to set an example, it’s pretty understandable. While she definitely worries too much about her clothes and what people think about her it’s all because she wants to do a good job and not let anyone down.

I will say that in the Heir she was a little annoying at times but she does definitely soften up a lot in this one particularly when it comes to her boys. She finally starts to open up to them and gets attached to each of them for different reasons although it didn’t feel like there was a lot of romance in the air (I suppose there was a lot of other stuff going on).

The six remaining contestants are possibly the sweetest guys ever and I also got very attached to all of them although it seemed like they were more friends to Eady than romantic interests. I kind of liked that there was a bit less romance in this book but it made it pretty much impossible to work out which way she would go and how it would all end.

In terms of who she eventually picks, I fully supported her choice. There had been hints of it coming throughout the Heir so while I did think her sudden realization was a bit too sudden (hinting around this is driving me nuts) I did believe it.

While overall I enjoyed the story it wasn’t perfect and there were a couple of things that niggled at me. I felt like there was a little bit of stereotyping going on, not enough development of some of the secondary characters and some slightly odd behaviour at times. Despite these niggles however I will say that Kiera Cass knows how to write and I found I couldn’t put it down. It’s easy and it’s completely addictive.

It would have been nice to get a bit more of an epilogue as I want to know where they all end up but I think it finished the series off really well.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the book in exchange for an honest review. The Crown is available now.

Book Review: The Sign of One by Eugene Lambert

The Sign Of OneThe Sign Of One by Eugene Lambert

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I had high hopes for this book but unfortunately it didn’t quite live up to them. As a YA dystopian, road trip type book it should have been perfect for me but despite being well written I felt like there just wasn’t anything new or original. It’s possible I just picked this up at the wrong point in time but it left me feeling a little bit “been there, read that”.

It is a first novel from this author and there is potential, it’s just not quite living up to it yet.

Synopsis (Goodreads)


In the Barrenlands of Wrath, no one dies of old age. Kyle is used to its harsh laws, but the cold-blooded separation of identical twins and execution of the ‘evil twists’ at the Annual Peace Fair shocks him.

When Kyle himself is betrayed, he flees for his life with the reluctant help of Sky, a rebel pilot with a hidden agenda. As the hunt intensifies, Kyle soon realises that he is no ordinary runaway, although he has no idea why. Fighting to learn the hideous truth, their reluctant, conflicted partnership will either save them – or kill them.


At the start it reminded me quite a lot of the Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness as there are quite a few similarities in storyline. The main character Kyle is a teenage boy, growing up in a brutal land of settlers who feels like he doesn’t quite fit in. There is the fanatical religious belief, in this case that in every set of twins one is evil and must be executed, and secrets around Kyle’s past that make him unique. It even has Kyle going on the run and forced to team up with a girl his own age (Sky).

Where it differs though is that this is a much bigger book in terms of scale. The first book in Chaos Walking focused very much on one slow journey and the relationship that developed between the two main characters. This book also has a journey and a developing relationship at its core however it feels much wider and I’m not sure this is to its benefit as there is a heck of a lot going on.

It is the first book in a series so there is a lot of world building, possibly too much. The characters seem to travel around the whole planet and go from a fair in a mining town to barren wastelands, to a swamp, to a shanty town and a military base. As it is an alien land there are different plants, dangerous wildlife and advanced technology. That combined with a lot of characters, different factions and new terms and language make it a bit difficult to keep track of everything.

The writing is pretty good but I think it lacks a bit in terms of description, something which I very rarely say (I’m not a big fan of long winded descriptions of things). I found it difficult to picture the world and at times struggled to work out what certain things actually were (is it a plant? is it an animal?). I get the feeling that the author may have sacrificed some of the detail to keep up the fast paced action.

The story is definitely fast paced and a lot does happen in it but for me possibly too much. I think I would have preferred a slightly slower story with a bit more detail and character development.

The story is told from the perspective of Kyle who I have to admit I didn’t particularly like. Kyle was always playing the victim, “why is this happening to me”, “I don’t want this” etc and I think spent most of the story moaning. When he wasn’t moaning he was doing the most ridiculously stupid things ever. He does have some skills and knowledge but seems to lack common sense and a survival instinct. If anyone deserved what happened to them it was him (and personally I thought he got off quite lightly considering the fate of some of the other characters).

Unfortunately my feelings toward the female lead Sky weren’t much better. She is the tough girl, who has to put up with Kyle and spends most of her time teaching him about the world and keeping him alive. I do like a tough girl but she was maybe a little bit too unsympathetic and rude. She is passionate but has a bit of a tendency to over react which is a little annoying.

While there are a lot of other characters within the book I felt like they didn’t get enough development. They were introduced and then seemed to quickly disappear never to be heard from again. One particular, and very important, character towards the end literally just got a couple of pages. I think this is part of the reason that I couldn’t really connect with the story. I didn’t like the main characters and no one else was given enough time for me to get to know them.

This is the first in a series so I’m sure there will be a lot more development in subsequent books but I’m not sure I will be rushing out to get them. There just wasn’t enough in this book that was original and engaging to make me desperate to read on and find out what happens next. It’s too similar to a number of other books and is just suffering in comparison, or at least it is for me.

It’s not a bad book. In fact as a debut novel it’s a pretty good effort, I think I’ve just read too many great books recently that do it better.

I received a copy of this free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

Flawed (Flawed, #1)Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

My rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Flawed? Maybe a little, but it’s still a bloomin good read.

I’ve been a big fan of Cecelia Ahern for years and would count some of her previous books (PS I Love You & How to Fall in Love) among my all time favorites. Flawed however marks her first venture into the YA dystopian genre and I have to say that while I was so excited to read it I was also a little bit nervous. A lot of the time authors struggle when they venture into new territory but this is most definitely not the case here.

The YA dystopia market is pretty cluttered at the moment, with a new must read series out more or less every week (I have to say it’s one of my favorite genres) but in this case the author has managed to create a book that really stands out from the rest.

It has a fascinating and believable premise, is very well written (although I wouldn’t expect anything less) and had me gripped throughout. I’d meant to read it over the course of a week but ended up ditching all of my other commitments and plans to finish it within 2 days (would have been quicker but I do really need to go to work).


The story was actually somewhat different from what I was expecting from the blurb. I thought it was going to be about being externally flawless and genetic engineering but it goes a lot deeper than that. It’s set in a country where due to the corrupt and unethical activities of bankers and politicians (sound familiar) the world went into financial crisis resulting in civic unrest.

Fearful of a recurrence, the country where main character Celestine lives came up with the solution of introducing a new form of society and a new court system (the Guild). The purpose of the Guild is to identify those who are flawed, and by that they mean those who are morally or ethically flawed. There remains a separate legal system for criminal offences so this judges purely on ethics with punishment for things such as committing adultery, taking too many risks at work or making bad decisions.

If you’re found to be flawed, you’re branded with a letter F (reminiscent of the Scarlet Letter) which you must display at all times. Those with the brand are treated as second class citizens, shunned by the rest of society, subject to curfews, career limitations and innumerable other rules.

17 year old Celestine has lived her whole life by the rules. She’s the perfect daughter, perfect student, with the perfect boyfriend and wants nothing more than to fit in. However when a neighbor and family friend is suddenly apprehended and found to be flawed Celestine starts to wonder about the fairness of the system. This leads to a mistake on her journey to school which could lead to her being found flawed.


I thought the authors idea of the whole flawed justice system was very clever. There are a lot of references to current day events (the financial crisis, increased regulation and even reality TV) but there are also historical references such as the segregation that took place in the apartheid system. If I didn’t believe politicians were too corrupt and have too much power to prevent it I could actually see it happening. This whole idea was probably the most fascinating part of the book for me. The idea that certain people could judge what was morally acceptable and what was not was always going to be open to manipulation and corruption and that is what happens here.

It’s interesting to watch Celestine in particular going from the poster child and biggest supporter of the system to beginning to question it and inadvertently falling foul of it. For this reason she starts the book as an irritating goody two shoes but develops and grows over the course of the story into a much more likeable character. I did think she read a little bit young for her age (she seemed more 14 than 17) and was ridiculously naive and gullible at times but despite me regularly screaming at her not to be so stupid (in my head rather than out loud) I somehow ended up supporting her. Yes she over reacts and doesn’t always give people a chance to explain but she’s a teenager so what can you say 🙂

There’s quite a diverse mix of other characters in the book, the majority of which were also fascinating to read. Particular highlights were Pia Wang (a journalist), her mother (a supermodel) and her grandfather whose motives aren’t always too easy to judge. The weakest character in my opinion was actually her boyfriend Art. He’s the head Guild Judge’s son and the boy next door (actually across the street) but I found him a little bit on the dull side and couldn’t quite see the attraction. There is a little bit of the insta love thing going on but it doesn’t really get bogged down in the whole romance side when there are much bigger things going on.

The story itself is pretty fast paced and I found it completely addictive reading. I should add a warning that there are a few fairly graphic, violent and abusive scenes that some might find a bit much but I absolutely loved them (not sure what that says about me). I was on the edge of my seat thinking “no, that can’t possibly happen”. If I was someone who bites their nails I probably wouldn’t have any left.

Overall, while it does have it’s flaws, they are few and and pretty minor. I would definitely recommend giving it a try. Personally I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an advance copy. Flawed is out now.

Book Review (take 2): Nivana by J.R. Stewart

Nirvana (Nirvana Series #1)Nirvana by J.R. Stewart
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Before you think “haven’t I seen this review before” this is actually a new review of a revised version of Nirvana. I initially received an advance copy from NetGalley around a month or so ago and while I thought the idea was good it wasn’t quite working for me (and based on reviews a lot of other people too).

However the author has taken a lot of this feedback on board and the book has had a major re write. I was contacted by the publisher and asked if I would mind reading the new version to see what I thought. This is the first time I’ve re read a book that’s had a major re write and I have to say it was a strange experience. The story is almost unrecognizable from the previous version and while I think it is much improved I couldn’t help comparing to the previous version.

The essential story is the same. It’s set in 2080 following an event known as the Extinction where the bees disappeared resulting in the loss of crops, livestock and pretty much all life. Those that are left live in a society controlled by the major corporation Hexagon. They keep the populace subdued through both fear and control of virtual reality which, in such a destroyed world, is the only form of entertainment and escape.

Larissa Kenders is one of the operators of the virtual reality system and as her fiancee Andrew is one of the programmers she knows all to well that all is not as it seems. The system is used to monitor those who use it and the wrong thoughts or actions mean disappearing never to be seen again. With her background as a punk rocker and history of rebellion against authority this doesn’t sit well with her and she tries to help where she can.

Meanwhile Andrew seems worried about something and has made a major discovery in his work which he isn’t telling her about. Then one morning he disappears and his research and work disappears with him. Kenders is told he’s dead and treated by the authorities as a suspect in the disappearance of his work. However when Andrew begins to appear to her in virtual reality she begins to think he may be alive and trying to get a message to her. Is he really alive though or is she just seeing what she wants to believe? If he is alive she has to find a way to reach him but who if anyone can she trust?

I thought this was an interesting take on the young adult dystopian. I loved how it used the technology and virtual worlds to raise the question of what is reality and what is virtual and how do you tell the difference. It also raises the issue if something seems convincing does it matter if it isn’t actually real? I’m kind of fascinated as well by the idea of big corporations gaining so much power they can overthrow a government. I have to admit that I find it kind of scary how much companies seem to know about us and the amount of information that’s stored out there in the inter-web. It seems very plausible that this type of society could come about in the future.

In terms of the characters, I liked Kenders for the most part. She’s intelligent, caring and fights for what she believes in. She has a bit of a troubled past but seems to be fairly well balanced and strong despite this. Andrew I wasn’t too sure about. Possibly he was just a bit quiet and distant for me to connect to but I didn’t feel like I got much sense of him as a person. Most of the time it seemed as if he was focused on his work and ignored everything else around him. I think it’s for that reason that I wasn’t totally sold on their relationship. There didn’t seem to be any real spark between them. I felt that it made it difficult to get behind Kenders in her quest to find him which was probably the main point of the story.

The character I did like and was really rooting for was Kenders friend from childhood Serge, although I don’t think we got to see enough of him in this version. He was a bit of a conflicted character, in love with Kenders and willing to do almost anything for her but also with everything to lose if she gets to Andrew and the truth. I feel like more could have been made of him as a character but his part was cut a little short. I also liked ex band mate Lexie. She was pretty wild and willing to go to any lengths to achieve her goal. I’m hoping we get to see more of her in future stories.

Overall, I thought the pacing of the story was good and there’s a lot more action and dialogue in the revised version. I would have liked a bit more depth in places as I didn’t really get the feels but it was good to find a book with a bit more originality and realism than the usual YA dystopian. I’m not entirely sure I liked the ending but I am a little curious about what will happen next.

Book Review: The Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel (The Lone City, #1)The Jewel by Amy Ewing
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Think that pretty much sums up my feelings about this book. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it. Just didn’t really care that much about it. Possibly I’ve just read too many YA dystopian books recently and need a break but it felt like this story had so much potential but just got stuck in the same formula as every other one.

The story follows Violet, a seventeen year old girl who was chosen at a young age to be a surrogate for the royalty. She has to say goodbye to her poor but honest and loving family and be auctioned off to the highest bidder. She is one of the highest ranked surrogates in her year due to her ability to manipulate energy so is snapped up by a Duchess from one of the four founding families.

However while on the surface it seems like a life of luxury there is a lot of manoeuvring and game playing among the royal families and Violet has to keep in favour if she is to survive. Then she meets Ash, companion to the Duchess’s niece, and she falls in love putting both their lives at risk.

This is quite an easy and quick read and the story flows well but I felt like not a huge amount happened. Books like this make me think the author is dragging out what could be one book to a series. There are a lot of similarities to other books such as the Hunger Games, the Selection and even a bit of Harry Potter so not much stands out as being particularly original.

Violet as a character was ok. A bit naive, a little rebellious and very caring but for the most part kind of boring. Ash the romantic interest wasn’t much better. He’s essentially hired to romance and flirt with the niece so should be handsome and charming but while we’re told repeatedly how good looking he is I couldn’t see the attraction.

The whole romance between Violet and Ash just wasn’t believable to me. They spend literally five minutes together and they are madly in love and willing to risk their lives? Sorry, but no, I don’t buy it. If there had been a bit more banter or even just a little conversation I might have accepted it but there is absolutely no spark.

Worryingly the one character I did like was the Duchess who is supposed to be the baddie of the piece. She is manipulative, scheming, violent and at times sad but she knows what she wants and she goes for it. For me she was definitely one of the most interesting characters. Everyone else felt a bit stereotypical and dull.

The story does pick up around the end but by then I wasn’t sure I cared what happened. I am slightly annoyed by the cliffhanger at the end as it seems another sign that the author is dragging the story out and trying to get readers to buy the next one.

I’m not sure I care enough and I’m sure it will be another drawn out story leading to a further cliffhanger and no real answers to all of the questions raised.