Friday, May 29, 2015

Review: Tracked by Jenny Martin


Tracked by Jenny Martin
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Rating: 3 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

The Fast and the Furious gets a futuristic twist in this action-packed debut!

On corporately controlled Castra, rally racing is a high-stakes game that seventeen-year-old Phoebe Van Zant knows all too well. Phee’s legendary racer father disappeared mysteriously, but that hasn't stopped her from speeding headlong into trouble. When she and her best friend, Bear, attract the attention of Charles Benroyal, they are blackmailed into racing for Benroyal Corp, a company that represents everything Phee detests. Worse, Phee risks losing Bear as she falls for Cash, her charming new teammate. But when she discovers that Benroyal is controlling more than a corporation, Phee realizes she has a much bigger role in Castra’s future than she could ever have imagined. It's up to Phee to take Benroyal down. But even with the help of her team, can a street-rat destroy an empire?

What I Liked:

This book was a bit all over the place. Overall a solid read and I'm interested in reading the sequel... but it's clear that this is a debut novel, and I'll explain why I say this in a moment. This book was rushed and way too fast-paced, but I recognize the potential and want to read more.

In this book, Phoebe Van Zant has no choice but to become Phoenix Vanguard. Caught for illegally rally racing, she strikes a deal with Benroyal and must race for him, or there will be terrible consequences. Phee's best friend Bear is pulled into the mess. Life in the Spire is a cage, and Phee hates living under the scrutiny of cameras, media, guards, heavy security, limited access, and not a chance to see her family, or understand the lies and politics behind everything. It's clear that Benroyal needs to be stopped, and not just because he owns Phee and her life - what he's planning is far worse, for everyone.

I love the science fiction of this book! Most of the reason why this book got such a high rating from me is because of the science fiction aspect of the book. I got a Star Wars feel for this book, especially with all of the racing and parts and teamwork aspect. Reminds me of the more recent Star Wars films, with little Anakin! I totally want to rewatch those trilogies again now...

Anyway. This novel takes place in a futuristic setting. Phee is an excellent driver/racer, well known on the streets. Her father was a well-known racer as well, and raced for Locus (another company) before he disappeared when she was young. Benroyal is using Phee for his own gain, in legal races.

I've never watched any of the Fast and Furious movies, but I'm sure the comparison is accurate. While I think there should have been more races in this book (there were like, three), I enjoyed the high energy and high stakes. This novel was fast-paced overall (something that I'll talk about below).

The plot is enjoyable, though too fast. It's clear that there needs to be another book, because things with Benroyal are not concluded. Phee discovers many things about herself towards the end of the book, and we need to see how those things will come in handy. Also, the ending is cruel! Very cliffhanger-y.

I didn't really like Phee, but I liked Cash a lot. Not just as a love interest (though that's really all the author made him out to be - a love interest and hawt shirtless male). Totally cliche of the author, but I liked the boy who fought for impossible things.

I think I'll move on to the dislikes! There were, unfortunately, a number of them.

What I Did Not Like:

I didn't really connect with Phee. To be honest, she acted younger than seventeen. I would have placed her around fourteen. Her voice seemed much more childish and immature. I definitely could see her character growth throughout the book, but I couldn't connect with her. She was too immature.

This book is FULL of cliches. And things just aren't well developed. I'll list some examples. As soon as Cash, the primary love interest is introduced, Bear starts to act brooding and angry, and the two of them start fighting. After Cash and Phee have met for all of five seconds. SO CLICHE. In the worst of ways, too - how often do we see this in YA? It doesn't usually happen so fast, right? Yes, the two love interests will square off. But usually... it's WAY into the book.

Things happen too fast and too underdeveloped, in my opinion. The alpha male square-off between Cash and Bear. The insinuation of Bear having feelings for Phee. Phee realizing that she's "confused" about how she feels about Bear. Literally one page to the next, within the first, let's say fifty pages, Phee's feelings change in a second. It takes them being thrust into Benroyal's hands for her feelings to change - that doesn't really make sense to me. And then she meets Cash, and it's insta-love city going on. The love interests immediately hate each other (at least, Bear hates Cash).

So much cliche. Phee throws a tantrum, threatening the love interests if they don't stop fighting, and then walk out. Do people really fight over a girl, five seconds after meeting her? Not sure if that's how real life (for future life) works. 

The romance in general is pretty screwed up at first. Like I said, things start to happen too quickly and too underdeveloped. And then it's like there is a love triangle. It becomes clear that Phee doesn't have a romantic interest in Bear, but he's totally in love with her. Phee likes Cash (and vice versa), and I like that pairing. I don't like how fast Phee and Cash "fall in love", become intimate, etc. It's insta-love, not lust. It's like the author skipped about 100 pages of character and relationship developed and went straight to some steamy stuff! Not cool, in my opinion.

I wanted more races! I felt like there was a dry spell between the very first one (which happened within pages of the book starting) and the next one (which was the first official one Phee had to race under Benroyal). Such a long time passes, and it feels like the book becomes about Phee and the media and her boy problems and a ton of cliches.

When I said that it was clear that this book is a debut - it needs work. There was a lot of baldly stated descriptions, a lot of "telling" but not "showing". A lot of underdeveloped plot arcs and characters, the plot moving entirely too fast and a feeling of things being completely left out. The ending is super cliffhanger-y, so watch out for that. This book is probably part of just a duology - I can't imagine it being part of a trilogy.

Would I Recommend It:

Ehhh. Great science fiction world-building, not so great storytelling. I'd wait on this book, wait for the next book to come out, see those reviews. I'll definitely be reading the sequel if I get a chance, especially if this is only a duology. But I wouldn't necessarily recommend this one - it needs work!

Rating:

2.5 stars -> rounded up to 3 stars. It's not that I didn't like this one! There isn't any venom behind my complaints. I think this could have been a much better book with more development to the story and characters. Hence why I am more than willing to give the next book a shot, despite not really enjoying this one. I'm glad I had the chance to read this one though, no regrets!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Blog Tour Guest Post with Sarah Ockler, Author of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler (and GIVEAWAY!)


Welcome to the blog tour for The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler! Today, I have a very visual post for you all - and an awesome giveaway! Read on, gentle readers!



The Road Trip in The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

When the idea for The Summer of Chasing Mermaids came together in the fall of 2013, I knew that I wanted to set the story somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. But I'd never visited coastal Washington or Oregon! My only visit to Washington was an all-too-brief book tour stop in Seattle the previous summer, and I'd only been to Oregon for a work event in Portland more than a fifteen years ago. Without an authentic feel for the setting of my book, I felt like I couldn't finish the story. 

Obviously, there was only one thing to do... RESEARCH ROAD TRIP!

My (thankfully) adventurous husband and I packed up our car with road trip essentials like a tent, hiking boots, plenty of white cheddar popcorn, and some bottled water, and hit the road from Colorado, driving northwest until we reached Washington. From there, we made our way south along the coasts of Washington and Oregon, visiting towns and natural sites that inspired the fictional town of Atargatis Cove, Oregon, where the novel is set. 

My Favorite Stops

The Goondocks and Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach. Fellow 80s kids will recognize this! And it totally made me want to write a story about pirates. For now, though, the only pirates in the book are the sailors who race in the Pirate Regatta. The 3rd picture features some of the houses that inspired the houses at Atargatis Cove.




Forks and LaPush, of Twilight fame. What kind of YA author would miss out on these places? LaPush is stunning, by the way.



Point Hudson Marina in Port Townsend, which helped me envision Chelsea Marina.


Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park, which inspired a hike in the story. That little orange dot at the bottom is me hugging a giant tree!


Thor’s Well at Cape Perpetua, a favorite spot for Elyse’s Aunt Lemon. I don’t know who that crazy person is down there, but that one is *not* me!



Bandon-by-the-Sea, including lunch at The Chowder House, where Christian buys Elyse her first fish-n-chips.



Crater Lake National Park, which is just a stunning place to visit. The lake is even bluer than the sky, and the water is so pure that scientists use it to measure baseline purity for drinking water.


Road Trip, Part 2

After a few weeks on the road, we finally returned home to Colorado (totally landlocked), where I got to work on writing the novel, totally inspired by everything we’d researched. But we missed the sea! So, less than two months after I finished The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, we took another road trip—this time, to move. Without much of a plan, we packed up our belongings and headed northwest, hoping for the best! We settled into a small seaport town in Washington, ready for a new adventure. Many of the people we'd met in restaurants and shops on our fall trip remembered us, so it really did feel like coming home! 

I love research road trips. I have to think about where I’d like to set my next book. Maybe Alaska—haven’t been there yet! :)


About the Author:


Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of young adult novels, including #scandal, The Book of Broken Hearts, Bittersweet, Fixing Delilah, and the critically acclaimed Twenty Boy Summer, a YALSA Teens' Top Ten nominee and IndieNext List pick. Her latest, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, hits the shelves in June 2015. 

Sarah is a champion cupcake eater, coffee drinker, night person, and bookworm. When she's not writing or reading at home in Washington, she enjoys taking pictures, hugging trees, and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex.

Visit her website at sarahockler.com or find her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook.



About the Book:


The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: June 2, 2015

Official Summary:

The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life. 

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .



The Giveaway:


Win (1) of (2) Sarah Ockler's prize packs that include a hardcover copy of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids and paperback copies of #Scandal, The Book of Broken Hearts and Bittersweet (US Only)

Giveaway starts on MAY 27th and finishes on JUNE 8th



Swoon Thursday (#122): Crash by Eve Silver

Swoon Thursday is a hot meme hosted by the fabulous ladies at YA Bound!


- From the book you’re currently reading, or one you just finished, tell us what made you SWOON. What got your heart pounding, your skin tingling, and your stomach fluttering

- Try to make the swoon excerpt 140 characters (or less), if you are going to tweet about it. Use the hashtag #YABOUND when tweeting


This week, my swoon is Crash by Eve Silver!


"It'll be okay," I say. If I'm honest, that's as much a reassurance for myself as it is for him. When he still makes no move, I cup his cheeks and lift my lips to his, intending only a brief touch, a reaffirmation of trust.

But Jackson has something else in mind. His arms come around me like steel bands, drawing me tight against him as he lowers his mouth to mine, his lips firm and soft. His fingers tangle in my hair. He deepens the kiss, his lips parting and slanting on mine, tongues touching, heat coiling through me. He tastes like chocolate and mint.

- eARC, 50% 




This series is so amazing! The romance is one of my favorite aspects. Slow-burn and no love triangle!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Blog Tour Interview with Megan Shepherd, Author of The Cage (and GIVEAWAY!)


Welcome to the blog tour for The Cage by Megan Shepherd! Check out the interesting interview I have with Megan, and enter to win a prize!




Meet Megan!


Alyssa: Hi, Megan! Thank you so much for joining me today on my blog! And congratulations on yet another release! How does it feel to be published four times now? :)

Megan: Hey, Alyssa! I’m thrilled to have my fourth book on shelves, especially the start of a brand-new series!

Alyssa: Describe some differences in THE CAGE, versus writing THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER (the first novels in a series)

Megan: When I wrote THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER, I was unpublished, unagented, and didn’t know very much about the business end of writing. Now that I know more about the market, about readers’ tastes, and publishers’ expectations, I sometimes find it hard to just sit back and write. While I was writing THE CAGE, I really had to find ways to clear all those worries from my head and just focus on the story.

Alyssa: Were there any novels that inspired or influenced THE CAGE?

Megan: When I started writing THE CAGE, I kept thinking back to an old episode of ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? that I remembered from my childhood. Did you ever watch that show? So I was in part inspired by that, and in part by the fast pace and themes of some great current YA sci-fi books like ACROSS THE UNIVERSE and SHATTER ME.

Alyssa: Did you come up with the comparison in the synopsis (“THE MAZE RUNNER meets Scott Westerfeld”)? What do you think of this comparison?

Megan: I didn’t! My publisher wrote that description. I feel really honored to be compared to those awesome books & authors.

Alyssa: Do you prefer writing historical fiction, or science fiction?

Megan: It really depends. I like writing the historical fiction voice best, and I find it a relief to write about a time period before the internet/cell phones/computers, but I also love the big philosophical questions you also often find in science fiction.

Alyssa: That’s it from me! Thank you for your time, and best of luck with the books (and movie)!

Megan: Thanks so much, Alyssa! Awesome questions, and a pleasure talking with you!


About the Author:

Megan Shepherd grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where her family has owned and operated an independent bookstore for over 35 years. Shepherd attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she majored in international studies and went on to live and work in Costa Rica, Senegal, Scotland, Spain, and many other countries. Now, Shepherd has returned to Western North Carolina and is a full-time writer of young adult novels.

She is represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

Author Photo by Kristi Hedberg Photography



About the Book:


The Cage by Megan Shepherd
Book One of The Cage series
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Official Summary:

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? 



The Giveaway:

1 winner will receive a signed ARC of THE CAGE with a CAGE bookmark and sticker sheet. US Only.


Follow the Tour!

Week One:
5/18/2015- No BS Book Reviews- Interview
5/19/2015- Me, My Shelf and I- Review
5/20/2015- Bewitched Bookworms- Guest Post
5/21/2015- Seeing Double In Neverland- Review
5/22/2015- Novel Novice- Interview

Week Two:
5/25/2015- Fiktshun- Guest Post
5/26/2015- Bookish- Review
5/27/2015- The Eater of Books!- Interview
5/28/2015- Such a Novel Idea- Review
5/29/2015- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post

Waiting on Wednesday (#126): Firewalker by Josephine Angelini


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


This week, I'm featuring:


Firewalker by Josephine Angelini
Book One of the Bloods of Gods and Royals series
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: September 1, 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

Worlds divide, magic slays, and love lies in the second book of Josephine Angelini’s The Worldwalker Trilogy.

"You think I’m a monster, but my choices, as ruthless as they seem, are justified."

Lily is back in her own universe, and she's ready to start a new life with Rowan by her side. True, she almost died in the Pyre that fueled their escape from New Salem, and must hide her magic for the safety of everyone she cares about, but compared to fighting the Woven, the monstrous creatures inhabiting the alternate Salem, life is looking pretty good.

Unfortunately, Lillian, ruthless ruler of the 13 Cities, is not willing to let Lily go that easily. If she can’t persuade Lily to return to her world, she will force her to come back by doing away with the ones she loves.

Picking up right where Trial By Fire left off, Firewalker is another sexy, fast-paced, heartbreaking thrill ride from internationally bestselling author Josephine Angelini!



I really liked Trial by Fire! I think I liked the original style of covers better but this new design is great too :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone


Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off. 

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

What I Liked:

I'm actually surprised by how much I liked this one. I didn't really know what to expect. I've never read any of this author's books, and I actually never read the synopsis of this book before reading it. I got it from the publisher and decided to read it on a whim, because a bookseller I follow read it insanely early and could not stop raving about it! So I figured the awesome package from Disney-Hyperion and BHM was a sign - read this book!

Sam was diagnosed with OCD - specifically, Pure-Obsessive OCD. She takes medication to help her focus her thoughts and to sleep, she sees a psychiatrist once a week, she's trying to be normal, day by day. None of her friends know about her condition, and Sam has always struggled with this. One day, she meets a really nice girl named Caroline, who introduces her to the Poets Corner, a secret meeting of a group of student who write and share poetry and songs. Sam joins them and begins to channel her tornado thoughts into her poetry, swimming, and a cute boy in the Poets Corner. She's doing better than she has been in years... until a realization threatens to bring everything crashing down.

This is a tough-issue contemporary novel, one that theoretically, I should never have picked up. I really do NOT like tough-issue contemporary novels. YA contemporary in general, I'm not a fan. But tough-issue contemporary novels? I tend to run in the other direction. Sprint, really. But this book was different. It wasn't entirely woe-is-me, angst, whining and complaining. Not saying every tough-issue contemporary novel is like that, or that that is my only probably with tough-issue contemporary novels. But often, the protagonist of a tough-issue contemporary novel is very selfish and annoying in her complaining and angst, and I hate it. 

Sam is different. I couldn't entirely relate to her (we all say we have "OCD" but that is not the case at all), but I could empathize. I could clearly see what was going through Sam's head, how she was thinking, what she was thinking, how it was affecting her mentally, physically, emotionally. I really liked Sam, from start to finish. I have a poor history with protagonists with mental illnesses/conditions (probably because I avoid books with these conditions/illnesses like the plague - they make me entirely too heartbroken or sad).

I love the progression of Sam's character. This is the most important part of the book, and Stone really nails the characterization as well as the progression of Sam's condition and how she is dealing with OCD. Sam goes from being a girl who is scared of people knowing about her condition, to a girl who learns to own it and be who she is, surrounding herself with people who know about her condition and support her.

I think Stone really did her research and represented OCD extremely well. I don't have OCD nor do I know much specifically about the illness, but it's obvious that Stone has done her research. It's obvious that Stone knows what she is talking about. There is minutiae that is so incredibly important to this story, small details that make it all the more genuine and authentic.

There is romance in this book! I was a bit surprised by how important the romance ended up being. It doesn't really take root until about midway through the book, but that was perfect, in my opinion! I like how Sam and AJ already had history (not romantic history), and Sam had to remember how she knew him. I like how they had to work to become friends, and then they became more than friends. Their relationship is beautiful and simple, yet intricate and complex. I loved watching them fall for each other! AJ is a great guy, and I couldn't see anyone else for Sam.

There are other relationships in this book that are explored - friendships, I mean. Sam makes a new friend, Caroline. Caroline pushes Sam to find the Poets Corner, and pretty soon, Sam has new friends that accept her with little question. Sam's current friend group are the popular girls, the ones that everyone looks toward. They're nice, but some of them are Mean-Girls-esque. It's interesting to see Sam balance both groups of friends.

The twist coming up towards the climax is INTENSE. Seriously, I had chills. Well done, Stone. I had no idea! I had some idea that something wasn't right - but I had no idea that it would be THAT. None, whatsoever. I still have chills! It was really eye-opening. Seriously well-written climax, and ending. I love the ending of this book! It's very inspiring and uplifting. For a non-contemporary fan to say such great things about this book - it must be good!

What I Did Not Like:

I can't really think of anything at the moment - which is a surprise! There is usually something in a contemporary novel that bothers me (in EVERY novel, but especially contemporary). No book is perfect, but I liked this one a lot!

Would I Recommend It:

I would totally recommend this novel! I've been reading a lot of contemporary in the last few days, and I definitely can't say I'd recommend all of them... I'd recommend P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han because of its strong familial themes and great relationships (romance and otherwise), and I'd recommend this one for its subject matter (on mental illnesses). Definitely two very different contemporary novels, but both very worthy of your time!

Rating:

4 stars. I am impressed! It takes a lot to impress me in general, but definitely in terms of contemporary! I'll definitely be reading more of Stone's books in the future - and I want to read her debut series now!


Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Review: Crash by Eve Silver


Crash by Eve Silver
Book Three of the Game series
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Publication Date: June 9, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads):

A thrilling action/suspense novel for fans of The Fifth Wave about contemporary teens pulled in and out of an alternate reality where battling aliens is more than a game—it's life and death.

Miki’s life is falling apart around her. Her dad and best friend are lying in the hospital. The Game is glitching, making missions more frequent and more deadly. And someone close to her is waiting for the right moment to betray her. 

Miki feels like she’s hanging on by a thread and the only thing keeping her tethered is Jackson’s hand in hers. Yet telling him how much she needs him, how much she loves him, feels like the biggest challenge of all. And if Miki really wants the missions to end for everyone, she’ll have to let go and be ready to fight when the walls between the Game and reality come crashing down. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned, it’s that she’s got a whole lot left to lose.

Crash is the pulse-pounding conclusion to the Game trilogy fans won’t want to miss.

What I Liked:

Guys, I'm so sad! This series is over... the Game series has become one of my favorite YA science fiction/thriller series! Rush blew me away and I liked Push, and now Crash has solidified an overall feeling of sanctification. I was highly impressed with this series - I've never read any of Silver's books before Rush, but given what I've read from this series, I'm sure the lady is quite talented! She is a very prolific writer, especially in adult novels, so I will be checking out some of those adult romance novels for sure!

In this final novel of the Game trilogy, Miki, Jackson, the team, and some unexpected allies fight to understand how to escape the game and its Committee. Miki knows something isn't right, and that the Drau may not be enemy. What if the Committee is orchestrating everything? With her father and best friend unconscious in the hospital and her getting pulled into the game more and more often, Miki's nerves are frayed. Is there any way to stop the game, to go back to her "normal" life?

This book had me on pins and needles as I was reading! There was no way to read fast enough. Miki's father is in the hospital, as well as Carly. I had no idea if either of them would survive, or if they wouldn't make it... the game has spilled into Miki's real life, and the threat is now present in all aspects of her life, including her innocent loved ones. The suspense was killing me!

Meanwhile, in terms of the game itself, we finally start to get answers about many things throughout this book. The Drau, the Committee, Lizzie, the next level(s) of the game, the bigger picture. A lot of things come together, and it's been a long time coming. I hate finishing a series and feeling like questions haven't been addressed. Not so, with Crash!

Miki remains an awesome and likable heroine. She is tough, yet she is fragile. She panics and has anxiety, and isn't always clear-headed. Yet she is willful and stubborn and determined, intelligent and can think for herself. In this book, she must rely on Jackson even more, for emotional stability as well as trust in the game.

Just like Miki, Jackson remains a kickbutt and badboy-fabulous hero. He's stubborn and macho and protective, but not in a disgustingly caveman way. He trust Miki and lets her in, and he values her opinion, game matters and non-game matters. He cares about everyone on the team, and watches everyone's back, even if he preaches "every man for himself". I like a macho guy (who's surprised? I love alphas, can't you tell from all the romance novels I read?), but I also like a sweet guy, a sensitive guy, an intelligent guy. Jackson is all of those things, even if it doesn't seem that way at first. I love that he is not a love interest first - he is a male protagonist and primary character, and THEN a love interest. 

The romance is so solid and present and alive in this book, I loved it! The romance in Rush really worked, and the romance in Push was good too, but I think I liked the romance in this book the best. No love triangle throughout the entire series, and Miki and Jackson made me smile and swoon and laugh. The two of them have really fiery chemistry (Silver write romance novels too, so this makes sense), and I love how they bicker and fight with each other (not in an annoying way to readers). 

The science fiction/thriller part of this book is so great! You don't find too many science fiction novels like THIS in YA. Too many of them are dystopias or medical thrillers. This series is all about aliens and a video-game-like alternate dimensions. To be fair, aliens are now popping up more and more in YA these days - but this particular combination of aliens, alternate dimensions, and thriller-like action is pretty unique. Props to Silver! I love the world she has created I love the "bigger picture" that we readers finally get in this novel. Very satisfying, in my opinion.

I won't say too much more because I don't want to spoil anything. Towards the end of this book, the story kind of blew my mind a little - it got complex and larger than life and just crazy! I'm very happy with the ending, though it is a bit of a surprising ending. I kind of like how Silver ends things - it isn't an ending anyone expects, and yet, it is an ending that fits. Trust me, the ending is great! Just surprising. Which is a good thing, you'll be surprised no matter what I say!

What I Did Not Like:

I don't really have any complaints! When I first finished the book, I was a bit shocked, and for a second, I was searching for a second epilogue or something. But the more I thought about it, the more the ending fit. Silver was leading us towards this particular ending, and while it wasn't the ending I expected, it was a good ending nonetheless. Be prepared for anything!

Would I Recommend It:

I truly loved this series, and I would recommend this book - and series! Definitely one of my favorite YA science fiction/thriller series, and definitely one I could see myself reading again. If I collected different sets of the books (ARCs, hardcovers, etc.), then that's how you KNOW I loved the series. I highly recommend this series to anyone! Pick up at least Rush if you have not yet done so!

Rating:

4 stars. This was an excellent conclusion novel! The series was very intriguing, engrossing, satisfying. I love Silver's worldbuilding, character development, storytelling, romance. The romance especially. There are so many ways to fall in love with this series!


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