Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Time Has Come! Great Changes Are Upon Us!

I know, I know. 

You've probably already seen this a thousand times. But I need to do this.

As you know, Google Reader is shutting down tonight. Google Friend Connect (GFC) is most likely going with it. Now, I just hit 700+ GFC followers, which is great! So I'm disappointed to know that GFC will most likely be disappearing along with Google Reader. 

So, please. Please, please, PLEASE follow my blog in another way.

Follow on Bloglovin


I infinitely prefer EMAIL or BLOGLOVIN, but I'm not going to be choosy. Any way of following my blog would be so appreciated.

Thank you all SO MUCH for following me. It means the world that anyone would follow me after six months of my blather and rambles. Thank you for staying with me!

Review: The Ruin of a Rogue by Miranda Neville

The Ruin of a Rogue by Miranda Neville
Book Two of the Wild Quartet series
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Rating: 2 stars
Source: eARC from Edelweiss

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Summary (from Goodreads):

Charm, wit, and nerves of steel have helped Marcus Lithgow gamble his way across the Continent. But when his heart is at stake, all bets are off for this most perfect rogue...

It's been years since Marcus set foot in England—why toy with the ton when he can fleece wealthy fools in Paris and Rome? Yet everything changes when he inherits a ramshackle estate. Marcus's first and only chance at a respectable life needs funding . . . the kind Anne Brotherton can provide. Such a wallflower should be ripe for the picking. So why does Marcus fell like he's the one hanging by a thread?

Anne Brotherton is sick and tired of being an heiress. She cannot bring herself to marry a fortune hunter. Why can't men like her for her sharp mind and kind hearts rather than her impressive dowry?

She nearly falls for Marcus's smooth seduction. But when Anne realized she's being strung along, a lust for payback empowers her like never before. Two can play the game of deception. The game of love, however, has its own rules.

What I Liked:

Ahhh, I really wanted to like this book. You all know my obsession with historical fiction, and more specifically, with historical romance. I got this eARC with two others from Edelweiss, and I chose to read this one first because it sounded awesome! Rogue, heiress, games?! I had high hopes for this one - not that I don't have high hopes for the other two eARCs I got along with this one.

Anyway. I was totally looking forward to an awesome historical romance book. Marcus sounded like a yummy rogue with a plan. And he was - sort of. I liked his plan from the beginning and the way he went right after what he wanted, despite the fact that he had basically no money, and that Anne eventually caught on and drove him up a wall.

I didn't really see the part about his "smooth seduction". I mean, I saw a kind gentleman, eager to please a lady, but not fall over himself trying to make sure she was pleased. I didn't really think Marcus was a rogue at all! He seemed like a poor and desperate man, but he also seemed like a complete gentleman to me! He didn't try to kiss her or do anything sexual AT ALL. Which was very nice of him, and I respected that, but if he's supposed to be a rogue, with rakish behavior, then that doesn't really fit his personality.

The ending is good! Happy ending and all that. There are sacrifices made, but as with most historical romance novels, there is a happy ending for the happy couple.

That concludes what I liked from this novel.

What I Did Not Like:

Oh my gosh. I mean no disrespect to the publisher and the author and everyone who worked so hard to make this book what it is, but there are SO MANY THINGS that I just did NOT enjoy. It pains me to say this, because I love Avon Books and historical romance.

Okay. Well. My first thing to point out is that this book is indirectly split up into two parts: the first part deals with Marcus and Anne, in which Marcus was being super nice to Anne in order to "charm her", for her money. The second part of the book deals with Marcus trying to restore an old manor he inherited from his mother's uncle. Anne follows him to his new manor because she has heard that there are ancient Roman ruins in this particular manor summer, and she is interested in archaeology, so naturally, she wants to explore the ruins.

So. I must say, while this book is split into two parts, both parts are extremely boring. The cadence of this book is so boring. I didn't care what was going on, I didn't care if Marcus and Anne were trying to trick each other, I didn't care about Marcus's manor, I just didn't care! This book was so boring and had no life to it! It made me not care about anybody or anything!

Anne is just so uninteresting. I know that the premise of the book says that she wants men to acknowledge her brains and her intellect, and not just her money. Okay but ANNE. You are such a boring person! You have like, NO personality. She likes archaeology and ancient ruins. I LIKE archaeology and ancient ruins and whatnot. But she bored me to TEARS with her chatter about archaeology and villas and UGH.

So Anne was a boring and almost a nuisance. She stood up for herself when she realized that Marcus was after her for her money, but she still acted like a spoiled heiress! I expect her to act like a spoiled heiress (she IS one), but she tries to convince herself that she's different than the other aristocratic heiresses. Ugh, no.

And Marcus was in no way the rogue and rake that the premise claims him to be! I really don't think he acted like a rogue at all! He acted like a nice gentleman, even when Anne joined him at his manor, even when he struck up a bargain with her. He didn't demand anything naughty in nature.

And that's another thing. Anne does housework with Marcus. Like, sweeping, dusting, cob-webbing, that sort of thing. MANUAL LABOR. Does anyone else see a problem with this? No heiress/aristocrat/rich lady would EVER stoop that low, just to see ancient Roman ruins. And that in itself is anachronistic - no aristocrat and definitely no LADY would go on her hands and knees to dig up ancient ruins that might not even be there. No one. I so so not believe that.

The romance itself is just BAD. In the beginning, Marcus just wants to pursue Anne for her money. In the beginning, Anne falls head over heels in love with Marcus, because he has knowledge in ancient ruins, and he seems kind and NOT after her money.

In the second half of the book, they fall in love while restoring the manor and digging up ancient ruins. I took FOREVER for them to actually decide that they were in love. And there wasn't very much chemistry! I was so disappointed in the lack of chemistry throughout the entire book! Their relationship didn't seem very passionate. It seemed taxed (on Marcus's end), and boring (on Anne's end). Or maybe just all-around boring. I find that sad - because this is a historical romance novel! There is supposed to be some burning passion, or something! All of the "passion" comes at the very end, and it happens only a few times!

Okay, so I feel like some people would say, "Well, maybe this is a historical romance with a lot of intellect and very little sex." Okay, I completely respect that. I love it when books are supposed to be intelligent, and more based on the plot than the romance. BUT, when we're dealing with a historical ROMANCE novel, I think there needs to chemistry throughout the book, among other things.

Did I already mention that I didn't care for the plot? It was so boring. Both parts to the book were unappealing. The characters were somewhat unappealing (mostly Anne). There were some anachronisms that bothered me. I didn't like the lack of passion and chemistry.

I feel like I've said enough. And again, I mean no disrespect towards the people who worked on this book, and the author. But as a historical romance lover, I was not impressed.

Would I Recommend It:

No. I'm sorry, but there are much better historical romance novels. Shorter ones, too. Length usually never bothers me, but when I already wanted this one to end from the very beginning, the sheer size of this book made it even worse. I didn't want to stop reading this book, because I thought it would get better, but alas.


1.5 stars -> rounded up to 2 stars. Maybe that's me being generous.

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

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Book Blast and Giveaway: The IXEOS trilogy by Jennings Wright

Welcome to the IXEOS trilogy book blast! I have book descriptions, author information, and an awesome giveaway to share with you! Enjoy!

IXEOS by Jennings Wright
Book One of the IXEOS trilogy
Publication Date: February 13, 2013

Official Summary:

The McClellands are enjoying a lazy summer vacation at the beach when they are lured from our world into Ixeos, an alternate Earth. Finding themselves lost in a maze of tunnels under Paris and surrounded by strangers, they discover that they have been brought to Ixeos for one purpose: to take the planet back from humanoid aliens who have claimed it. With the aid of the tunnels and a mysterious man named Landon, the teens travel the world seeking the key that will allow them to free Darian, the long-imprisoned rebel leader. But the aliens aren’t the only problem on Ixeos — the McClellands have to deal with brutal gangs, desperate junkies, and a world without power, where all the technology is owned by the aliens, and where most of the population has been killed or enslaved. The worst part? There’s no way home.

IXEOS: Rebellion by Jennings Wright
Book Two of the IXEOS trilogy
Publication Date: June 1, 2013

Official Summary:

With rebel leader Darian free at last, the humans and outsiders on Ixeos must find a way to join forces and defeat the Firsts. The problem? All slaves are tracked with GPS, the Firsts are the only ones with power, and roving gangs hate the rebels just as much as they hate the aliens. As Darian and the outsiders from Earth travel the globe through the mysterious tunnels in Paris, they learn that the Firsts are preparing to launch another wave of biological warfare. With a transporter that will allow the aliens to target any city, anywhere on the planet, the rebels know they must stop them at all costs.

As things get more dangerous on Ixeos, the outsiders find that they’re pushed to their limit. Will they fight for freedom, no matter the price?

About the Author:

Born and raised in Rockledge, Florida, Jennings spent her early years reading anything she could get her hands on, when she wasn’t spending time in and on the water. She won a prize in the 6th grade for her science fiction stories.

Jennings attended the University of the South and the University of Tampa, graduating with a B.A. in Political Science, and almost enough credits for B.A.s in both English and History. She spent time over the years doing various kinds of script doctoring, business writing, editing, and teaching writing, but mostly having and raising her family, homeschooling her children, owning and running a business with her husband, and starting a non-profit to Uganda.

Thanks to a crazy idea called NaNoWriMo Jennings got back into creative writing in 2011 and hasn’t stopped since. She’s written four novels and a screenplay in less than a year, with more ideas on the drawing board. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, also a writer, and two children, and travels extensively.

The Giveaway:

Must be 13+ To Enter
Shipping in the US Only

North Face backpack
Phase 10
GIANT jawbreaker
Paracord bracelet
water bottle
pocket atlas
tiny flashlight
Fruit stripe gum
A deck of cards called "Don't Die Out There"
The Book of Potentially Catastrophic Science: 50 Experiments
 (not pictured):
IXEOS: Rebellion
IXEOS black long sleeve tee size L

Stacking the Shelves (#27)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews, in which bloggers share the books and swag they've received in the past week!

So, what did I get in the week of Sunday, June 23rd to Saturday, June 29th?

(all links to Goodreads are provided!)

Thank you to Johns Hopkins University, for sending me The Other Wes Moore, my optional summer reading novel. I would have read it anyway, but there is a contest involved! YAY!

And thank you to Disney-Hyperion and Armchair BEA, for The Enchanter Heir. I haven't read any of the books in this series. But that's okay. My sister has read all three. She can have it ;)

Of Poseidon, Of Triton, and Degrees of Wrong bookmarks

Big thanks to Harlequin Teen - I won that copy from the blog tour.
A gigantic thanks to Anna Banks/Scarlett for Degrees of Wrong and the bookmarks. I read that book about a year ago, and loved it SO MUCH. Seriously. You should go buy it. It's AMAZING. One of my favorite books of all time.

The coolest bookmark with a sword on the end!

Thank you to author Angela McCallister, for the great bookmark and $5 Amazon e-gift card! I won both at the #CovetBash on Twitter about a week ago.

Thank you, St. Martin's Griffin! 

(that's awkward...)

From NetGalley:

From Edelweiss:

And that was my week! 

Today, June 29th, is my 6-month blogoversary! I was debating on whether or not to do something special (i.e., giveaway), but my birthday is in less than a week. Birthday... 6-month blogoversary... graduation... nearly 2000 total blog followers.... nearly 50,000 pageviews... over 300 posts... first ARCs sent directly by publishers... 

Yeah, I have a lot to celebrate. And much of it is thanks to you all, my amazing followers, page-viewers, and commenters! But not the birthday part. Or graduation.

Love you all!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday (#25)

The Feature & Follow is a creative meme that allows bloggers to get to know each other, and gain more followers! It is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.

If you would like, it would be great if you followed me via Email, Linky, Bloglovin, or Google+ (all on the right). I have no idea what's going on with GFC, so I'd prefer you follow me in a new manner. Let me know in the comments if you did, leave a link to your blog, and I will comment and follow back! I always do, I promise! Thank you!

Q: What is your preferred reading format? Hardcover, eBooks, paperback etc? 

Ah, this question. It's a complex question! Some people get really riled up at the thought of ebooks. Or people roll with the times and jump on that bandwagon.

Here's my thing: I love hardcover and paperback copies of books. Those will ALWAYS be the formats I covet, will always be worth more sentimentally (and financially) than ebooks. There's nothing like holding a book in your hands and reading. I never thought I would start reading in the ebook format.

But I love ebooks. They save space. Most of the time, they're cheaper. They're also more environmentally friendly (less paper, less ink, less water for the paper). I got my Kindle in January 2011. At the time, and up until February 2013, I still read more print books than ebooks. 

What changed? I signed up for NetGalley and Edelweiss is February 2013. Suddenly, all those eARCs that I requested and were approved for started piling up and needed to be read. So, in the past months, I've been reading more books in ebook format than in hardcover/paperback format. 

And really recently, I've been getting a few print ARCs here and there. I can't really remember the last time I bought a print copy of a book, because I have been SWAMPED in eARCs and print ARCs.

Do I still love hardcover/paperback books? Heck yeah. Will I continue buying hardcover/paperback books? Heck yeah. Will I read books in ebook format? Of course!

Basically, I love print books, but I also love ebooks. And there is nothing wrong with that.

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Repossession by Rachael Wade

Repossession by Rachael Wade
Book One of the Keepers trilogy
Publisher: Rabbit Hole Press
Publication Date: June 27, 2013

Official Summary:

Skylla only knows that she has been kidnapped and held prisoner by the foreign invaders and their human allies. And that the world is ending. Or so the humans think. The invaders have made it clear that their arrival is one of hostile intent, and as their takeover spreads, so does the panic across the globe. No one knows how to defeat them, or if it’s even sane to try.

Jet, Skylla’s human captor, is up for the challenge, though. A traitor in Skylla’s eyes, he is working with them. But Jet has his own agenda; one that doesn’t include babysitting Skylla or helping the enemies. And as the human race struggles to keep the invaders from achieving their goal, Jet and Skylla’s paths collide to reveal the truth behind Skylla’s abduction.

The invaders are headed for the water. Jet is headed for the water. But that’s the last place Skylla wants to be. That’s where the future of humanity lies, and where the bridge to their yesterdays was burned. On a mission to take back what is rightfully theirs, Earth’s population is determined to make sure this isn’t the end. But some endings were never theirs to begin with.

About the Author:

Rachael Wade is the Amazon bestselling author of The Preservation Series, The Resistance Trilogy, and the upcoming sci-fi series, The Keepers Trilogy. When she's not writing, she's busy learning French, watching too many movies, and learning how to protect animals and the environment. Visit her at and, or come chat with her on Twitter via @RachaelWade.

The Excerpt:

The quiet drone of a train’s chugging grew louder as it approached but was still eerily muted, a graceful ghost passing in the night. Minimal light shone from the front car as Jet stepped forward to align himself with its path.

“How do we know where it stops?” I asked, positioning myself next to him.

“We don’t.”

“So …”

“So we have to make a run for it.”

“You mean jump?”


“As in … jump onto a moving train.”


“This is crazy.”

“A dangerously disturbing level of crazy. No worries, baby.” He patted my shoulder with a smartass grin. “It’s just your area of expertise.” I narrowed my eyes at him, storing that one away for a future retaliation jab of my own.

Adrenaline spiked as the train grew closer, every nerve ending a live wire to the heart pounding violently in my chest. Jet grabbed my hand, glancing at my gun. “I’ll go first. Once I get a good grip, I’ll haul you up. Whatever you do, don’t stop running. And don’t let go.”

“I should go first,” I raised my voice to speak over the rumbling of the track. “You’re hurt. You’re going to need upper body strength.”

“I’m fine. Don’t fight me on this.”

Blood pounded hot in my ears, my heart rate jumping and hair blowing wildly around my cheeks as the train began to whizz by. The rush in my veins propelled me forward the moment I spotted an opportunity, and I launched into a controlled sprint. Springing upward, I lunged forward and latched on to the side of the car, the metal handle slipping beneath my sweaty grip. I shrieked and latched on harder, hearing Jet’s voice thunder behind me. The train’s vibrations rattled against my chest, sending my senses on high alert.

Clenching the handle until my knuckles hurt, I bit down on my lip to ease the tension and yanked hard to the right, feeling a heavy latch click and shift beneath my fingers. The door slid open and I hauled myself up and inside, grabbing onto the side of the frame to steady myself before flipping around to reach for Jet. He was running full speed after me, his arms pumping tight and sharp at his sides as he tore forward.

“Come on!” I yelled, extending one arm. It only took him a few seconds to catch up, his agile form sending his body off the ground and up onto the car before I could blink. With a loud shout, he clamped onto my arm, his other hand flying over his chest to cradle his gun. I was thrown onto my back with a thud before I knew what hit me, his body covering mine with a crash that left me seeing stars.

“F****** crazy woman!” he shouted over the rail’s relentless roar, louder now that we were level with it. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” His heat pressed into me, his arms caging me in as he stared down into my eyes, his nose aligned with mine.

“Fulfilling my sole purpose to drive you mad, it seems.” I couldn’t help it. The rush sent me sky-high and an explosive laugh escaped my lungs. I shook beneath him, my breath heaving against his chest.

“Damn it, Skylla!” He dropped his head as he gasped for air. “Seriously!” he added for effect, but there was nothing serious in his voice now. He was laughing too, just as deep, just as euphorically as I was, and I decided right then that the sound of Jet’s laugh was almost as sexy as his full lips and ripped body.

“Wanna go again?”

“You’re reckless. I can’t even look at you.”

“You’re crushing me.”

His head lifted, those blue eyes settling on me as his laughter slowed. “You deserve it.”

My hand shifted and found his injured hip; my fingers brushed the bandage through his shirt. He flinched. “And you need to admit when you need help.”

Pushing himself up, he rolled off me and sat back on his heels, wincing and gripping his side, his lips pulling back and teeth visibly grinding with the motion. I sat up and scooted forward, mindful of the gaping railcar door. I reached up and slid it shut, slamming it with a loud grunt until I felt it lock into place. The loud rumble of the wheels hitting the track was muted now, but the rattling hum still thumped away from outside, filling the dimly lit car with a shaky buzz.

“I’m fine,” he said.

“Fine. Play it your way. I’m going to see if I can find you some medicine.”

I helped push him backward to prop him against the wall, peeling his backpack from his shoulders first. “Try and rest, I’ll see what I can find out.”

“I’m not letting you wander around these cars alone. Not f*****’ happening.”

“If you don’t rest and get medicine for that wound soon, I’ll be stuck wandering everywhere alone. That ointment won’t cut it. You’re going to need antibiotics. It’s starting to get infected.”

His gaze snapped up to mine and held my stare. “Finger on the trigger.”

“Fire on your mark.” I smirked.

The Giveaway:

Swoon Thursday (#24): Awaken by Meg Cabot

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 from Awaken by Meg Cabot!

(This is my FAVORITE passage of the book, so I'll share most of it!)

"This is all the therapy I need," he said, raising his hand from my waist to another part of my anatomy, nearer to my heart.

I sucked in my breath. "I'm pretty sure in therapy, that would be called a diversionary tactic."

"Then I need a lot more diversionary tactics," John said, his fingers moving to tug on the string that kept the bodice of my dress closed in the front. "Also, there's something you promised to tell me that you still haven't said -"

I don't know if it was the intoxicating mixture of his closeness; his kisses; the comforting cocoon of pillows; the romantic, constant drumming of the rain outside; or the fact that, after so long, we finally seemed to have found somewhere we could safely be together. But it wasn't long before I found myself murmuring, "I love you, I love you, I love you," exactly as I'd longed to the entire time he was gone.

- eARC, 59%

I loved this book! In my opinion, the first one, Abandon, was pretty good (3 stars), the second one, Underworld, was AWFUL (2 stars), and this one, Awaken, was excellent (4 stars). Such a great end to this trilogy! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Blog Tour Interview with Polly Holyoke, author of The Neptune Project (and Giveaway!)

Welcome to the blog tour for The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke! I've got a fabulous interview with this awesome author, and just below that, a giveaway! 

Read my review for The Neptune Project HERE.

The Interview:

(that's Polly)

(that's her book!)

Alyssa: Hi, Polly! Thank you so much for joining today on my blog!

Polly: It’s my pleasure to be here.

Alyssa: So, Polly. Describe your book in ten words. GO!

Polly: Genetically-altered teens fight to survive in the sea.

Alyssa: Is there anything about your book that you would change?

Polly: I had to delete a scene or two that I liked, but the book is probably stronger without them.

Alyssa: What is something that you must have when writing? 

Polly: I definitely like to start my writing day with a cup of English Breakfast tea with just the right amount of milk and sugar. That’s a very British way to enjoy tea, but I got hooked on having it that way when I went to the University of St. Andrews in Scotland my junior year of college.

Alyssa: What type of books do you like to read? What are you currently reading?

Polly: I’m reading a number of YA and MG books by other 2013 debut authors right now. I recently finished Parched by Melanie Crowder. It’s a climate disaster dystopian set in the future, and it is a beautiful, searing read. In general I like to read literary, historicals, science fiction and fantasy.

Alyssa: Where is your favorite place to read?

Polly: Any place which is quiet, which in my busy house is often hard to find! I get much of my reading done in the car waiting to pick up my kids from various events.

Alyssa: What’s your favorite distraction when writing under deadline?

Polly: I go for walks. Whenever I get stuck or stalled, I put my trusty pack of dogs into their harnesses, and off we go for a stroll.

Alyssa: What do you think of the cover of The Neptune Project?

Polly: I love the way my main character Nere is depicted. Her hair and her sea suit are just right, and the cover artist did a wonderful job with the light beneath the waves. The water off the coast of California is more green than blue, and the visibility there is rarely that clear, but a cover showing a bunch of green murky water wouldn’t have appealed to kids’ imaginations the way this beautiful blue one does!

Alyssa: What’s one song that embodies The Neptune Project?

Polly: Well, since I work for Disney now, I often say the lyrics from “Under the Sea,” fit my story nicely. “Darling, it’s better down where it’s wetter, take it from me,” hopefully ends up being true for my characters.  But “Never Let Me Go,” by Florence and the Machine sounds like sea music to me, and the lyrics, “And I’m going under, but I’m not giving up! I’m just giving in…” make me think of a harrowing moment in the story when her mother forces Nere under the surface to make her breathe water into her lungs for the first time.

Alyssa: Are you working on anything related to The Neptune Project? Or something new? Anything contracted? 

Polly: I have already written a sequel, and Neptune 2 has been bought by Puffin UK. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping I’ll hear good news soon from Disney Hyperion as well.

Alyssa: And that’s a wrap! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog, Polly!

Polly: Thanks so much. Guess I better dive back into my work, so to speak! 

Alyssa: Have fun with that! :)

About the Book:

The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: May 21, 2013

Summary (from Goodreads):

THE NEPTUNE PROJECT is set in a future where the seas are rising and wars and famines wrack the surface world. Nere Hanson and her teen companions are shocked to learn that they have been genetically altered by their desperate parents to live in the sea. Protected by her loyal dolphins, shy Nere leads the rest on a perilous journey to her father's new colony. Fighting off government divers, sharks and giant squid, can Nere and her companions learn to trust each other before their dangerous new world destroys them?

About the Author:

Polly Holyoke has been imagining stories since she was in fifth grade. When she isn't writing, Polly loves reading, camping, skiing, scuba diving and hiking in the desert (where she quite stupidly got herself bitten by a rattlesnake). She lives with three rescue dogs, two spoiled cats and a nice husband who is tolerant about the piles of books all over their house. Her debut middle grade novel, THE NEPTUNE PROJECT, is the story of a young girl leading a group of genetically altered teens fighting to survive in the sea. She is thrilled that this novel will be published by Disney/Hyperion and Puffin Books UK summer, 2013. She thinks the best part about being an author is going to work in her sweatpants and getting paid for daydreaming!

The Giveaway (tour-wide):

Review: The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke

The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: May 21, 2013
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

THE NEPTUNE PROJECT is set in a future where the seas are rising and wars and famines wrack the surface world. Nere Hanson and her teen companions are shocked to learn that they have been genetically altered by their desperate parents to live in the sea. Protected by her loyal dolphins, shy Nere leads the rest on a perilous journey to her father's new colony. Fighting off government divers, sharks and giant squid, can Nere and her companions learn to trust each other before their dangerous new world destroys them?

What I Liked:

I was not sure what I was expecting from this book, but I know for a fact that I did not realize it was a Middle Grade novel! I love Middle Grade, and I am really glad I got the chance to read this book. I believe it is my first Middle Grade read of the year.

Anyway. The concept of this book was very interesting! I haven't read many books that deal with an underwater setting, and I thought that Ms. Holyoke did an excellent job of describing the ocean and underwater. I was blown away by the depth of her knowledge of the ocean (no pun intended), and how she went from talking about one type of fish to another with ease. It was clear to me that Ms. Holyoke had a vast knowledge of the underwater world, and that she did her research well. I have to say, that is my favorite thing about this entire book - the description of below the surface, and the use of many different fish species and other ocean-related things that added to the authenticity of this novel.

The novel is set in a futuristic time. In this novel, the world has been heating up drastically due to global warming, and there is garbage everywhere, and the Marines basically own the ocean. I didn't get a good feel for what was going on above the surface, because the majority of the book is spent underwater. But I thought that it was awesome that Ms. Holyoke used an environmental problem to get her novel going (because I'm all about the environment, as an environmental engineering major).

So Nere (the protagonist) and a bunch of other kids have been subjected to change from land-loving humans to sea-loving humans. Nere's parents perfected some sort of shot that made Nere and two other kids from Nere's island able to survive underwater. Nere and the other two kids meet up with other kids from other areas of the world, and they all must swim across the sea to meet Nere's father in an underwater community.

The romance threw me off. It wasn't that I was torn between two guys - because Nere wasn't torn between two guys (though there was the presence of two guys). I liked the obvious guy well enough, but his predicament at the end... I didn't really buy it. I won't spoil anything, but I was not impressed with the male love interest at the end of the book.

The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, and the author did say she had another book written. Hopefully that book takes care of the cliffhanger!

What I Did Not Like:

It's not to say that I didn't like this book... I just didn't love it. I didn't feel impressed at the end of the book, despite my fascination with the overall idea of the story. And there were little things that bothered me throughout the book.

For one, I seriously thought this book was a Young Adult book (for older teens, I suppose) for a good portion of the book, because Nere's voice and actions are pretty developed. I guess that can be seen as a good thing, that she's mature, but it just didn't make sense when I found out her age. She didn't act like an adolescent. So I was confused about that.

And you already know that I can't stand the love interest's decision at the end of the story. Why can't he just run away? What's so hard about swimming away? I hope I didn't spoil anything - but you all probably have no idea what I'm talking about. 

I also didn't really see a climax in this book. It just kept going and going (which was really boring), and there would be a problem pretty often (like, sharks, or the Marines), but I didn't see a ton of buildup, and then the "climax" wasn't really a climax. And getting to the end took some effort, because I felt like the story just drifted on and on for a sizable percentage of the story.

And the cliffhanger ending. I was a tad bit irritated with it, and I have half a mind not to read the next book (if it gets picked up by Disney-Hyperion), because I don't really care to see where this story is going.

Would I Recommend It:

If you liked Middle Grade, yes! Go for it! You might enjoy it. If you're a Young Adult fan, then probably not. I'm glad I got the chance to read this one, but if it weren't for the tour, I probably wouldn't have picked it up.


3 stars. Not bad, but not amazing either.

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