Thursday, April 10, 2014

Highlights / Lowlights: ALL OUR YESTERDAYS, DEFY, and RUSH

Title: All Our Yesterdays
Author: Cristin Terrill
Published: September 3rd, 2013
Series: N/A
Genre: YA Sci-fi / thriller
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
POV: 1st person
Pages: 360
Format: Electronic ARC
Source: Netgalley
Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf
What would you change?

Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend, James, since they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it... at least, not as the girl she once was. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

Highlights: The concept for this story is fantastic, plus there's time travel. Cristin Terrill's style of time travel is especially fascinating, and I liked seeing the way things changed in the past/future and worked within the story. The romance was (to my surprise) entirely believable, and very sweet. I also really enjoyed the dual POV, and believe each voice was truly well done. The two different, but similar, narrators grow within the story. The pace is quick and gripping. All Our Yesterdays was a fantastic story overall, and an exciting story to read.

Lowlights: I was surprised to find that I wasn't loving this story as much as everyone else. I like it a lot, but I did not connect with it the way other readers have. I found the ending to be slightly confusing (but, time travel paradoxes confuse me).

Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf (low 4 out of 5).

Title: Defy
Author: Sara B. Larson
Published: January 7th, 2014
Series: Defy #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Press
POV: 1st person
Pages: 336
Format: E-ARC / Kindle Book
Source: Netgalley / Purchased
Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf
A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?
Highlights: Alexa's voice is incredibly accessible, and I was rooting for her from the first page to the last. She's a tough girl who is willing to fight, but she has a vulnerable side. The story moved in unexpected directions, and I was never quite sure what was going to happen next. The world is fascinating, deadly, and expansive. Larson takes readers through a few settings and locations, and each was more intriguing than the last. The fighting scenes, however, were definitely my favorite part, because Larson created so much tension and excitement in those moments. All in all, Defy is action-packed and thrilling to read.

Lowlights: I did have some issues with the romance - Larson somewhat creates a love triangle, but both sides are unimpressive (and one character obviously doesn't even stand a chance, at least in this book). The romance aspect made Alexa less confident in herself and her choices, and that was disappointing. I was really looking forward to the gender-bending aspect, but Alexa's male persona seen through pretty easily by other characters.

Rating: The Royal Library, Bottom Shelf (4 out of 5).

Title: Rush
Author: Eve Silver
Published: June 11th, 2013
Series: The Game #1
Genre: YA sci-fi
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
POV: 1st person
Pages: 361
Format: Hardcover
Source: Won from Epic Reads
Rating: The Great Hall.

So what’s the game now? This, or the life I used to know?

When Miki Jones is pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game—her carefully controlled life spirals into chaos. In the game, she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures. There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says the game isn’t really a game, that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival, and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn’t. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.

Highlights: Action-packed from the very beginning, Rush is thrilling. I was not sure what to expect, but this story delivered by presenting an exciting story that was undeniably difficult to set aside. The video game aspect was fantastic and one of my favorite parts of the novel. Miki is a very easy to relate with, and she's incredibly realistic about her highly unusual situation. Luka was fabulous, along with quite a few other side characters. Deadly aliens and tough teenagers, this story is a complete thrill.

Lowlights: Carly, the supposed BFF: The reader is told she's usually a great friend, but I don't see it. Jackson, the mysterious and totally badass leader whom Miki falls into insta-love with (after only a week or so of knowing one another). Despite the answers given, I'm a bit confused by certain aspects of the story's concept. And the ending! Honestly, I feel like this novel needed to be stretched out a bit more, with more pages, more time passing, more interactions between characters, and more answers.

Rating: The Great Hall (3.5 out of 5).


  1. I really enjoy the way you do these quick little insights into these books, Lea! And I'm glad to hear you enjoyed them, especially the first two. I've been wanting to read All Our Yesterday---there was definitely a lot of hype and it's nice to read a nice even review for it to keep my expectations in check.

    1. Thank you! All Our Yesterdays was great, it was a hard book to set aside! You should check it out :)

  2. Love your 'Quick reviews' and highlights/ lowlights. They sound like interesting reads.

  3. Excellent reviews! I don't think Defy would appeal to me because of the love triangle but I want to read All Our Yesterdays. I have a review copy but haven't gotten around to it yet.

    1. Thanks, Christina! DEFY won't be for everyone, but I liked the action sequences, world, and characters (I'm hoping the romance will improve in the next book). AOY was great, you should try to bump it up on your TBR pile :)

  4. Ohh. Awesome reviews :D I have only read All Our Yesterdays, but I really, really loved it. <3 I'm glad you enjoyed it as well. But aw. I'm sorry you didn't fully love it. (I wasn't confused about the ending, but have seen that a lot of people were, hih.) But anyway. Thank you for sharing. <3

    1. It was a great story, but I didn't quite enjoy it as much as most people did. Still, I loved the characters!

  5. Sorry you didn't completely fall for All Our Yesterdays, but glad you did like it. The romance was sweet for sure

  6. Awesome reviews! I have been especially curious about Defy. I have read some mixed reviews, but the fact that you felt it was entertaining despite the romance issues gives me some hope. I think I will take that one out from the library….thanks for the honest reviews!

    1. I think DEFY is a hit or a miss - I liked it, despite the romance issues, but I know a lot of people couldn't ignore that aspect. I hope you enjoy it, if you do read it!

  7. All three of these books are on my TBR so it's nice to see you enjoyed them all for the most part. A lot of people have had the same comments about the romance aspect of Defy, which makes me nervous to read it. Rush sounds a little frustrating with the insta-love and BFF who wasn't. Your mini reviews are always so informative and awesome! =)

    1. RUSH was a fun book, but my gosh, the instalove was so typical. With a few changes, that book could have been great. But I'd still recommend checking it out, along with DEFY!

      Thanks for stopping by!