MILA 2.0 – Debra Driza

Title: MILA 2.0 (#1)

Author: Debra Driza

Summary From Goodreads:

Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.

Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past—that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza’s bold debut and the first book in a Bourne Identity-style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human. Fans of I Am Number Four will love Mila for who she is and what she longs to be—and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the sequel.

Personal Review:

MILA 2.0 is the first book I have ever read about an android. And I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, there were one of two issues that I had with it, but for the most part, I really enjoyed it.

Cast of Characters:
For the most part, I really liked that cast of characters. MILA was a very interesting character with a full array of teenage emotions. Having once been a teenage girl, I remember some of those emotions. And yet there are android aspects to her that made for a very interesting dynamic. The reconciling of the two parts of her was very well done, in my opinion. I imagine if all of a sudden, I found out I wasn’t human and I could pull up a GPS in my brain and switch into ninja mode, I would be super freaked out as well and have trouble dealing with it. I like that Debra Driza addressed this and showed us MILA slowly coming to deal with this. As for the other characters in the book… I felt that they were underdeveloped, but that as the series continues, they will be developed further. The girls that MILA was friends with in Clearwater… I felt they were overly shallow. They were completely horrible to MILA at the end, yet they were so ready to adopt her as a friend when she first showed up? I never really understand that.

BOYS:
I was going to call this section “Instalove” but then I realized that I actually have two rants that I want to talk about her.These both have to do with the character Hunter. He is the mysterious good looking guy that shows up at the dairy queen and instantly all the girls are in love with him. Now let me first rant about that for a minutes. I hate it (in both real life and in novels) when a guy shows up and girls let him destroy their friendships with other girls. But in this case, it is even worse because the guy is in the picture for literally three days. What kind of person tries to nearly literally kill their friend for a guy who has been around for a day and hasn’t even shown the slightest interest in you? Also, what kind of friend starts a rumor that you cut off your arm and gave it to your ex-boyfriend? I mean, really, why are girls the worst to each other? And why do boys drive us to treat each other this way? It is unacceptable. Sisters before misters, you know.

Which brings me to the most horrible of all plot devices… the instalove. The I don’t know anything about you but I will do anything for you because we are soulmates and it doesn’t matter what secrets you have (including not being human) because I looked in your eyes at the dairy queen and I know you were the one. First of all, you all are teenagers. Let’s be real. Everyone is “the one” at that age. Second of all, I find this to be a really weak plot device. It makes me angry, to be honest. The author can’t be bothered to take the time and develop a relationship between the characters? At least set it along a more realistic time frame. I am pretty sure that not more than 3 days passed between Hunter and MILA meeting and her and her mom having to run away. And the girl cannot stop obsessing about him. I felt no connection between them. Because when an author employs instalove, there is no connection to be felt. You are simply told that they have just met, are in love with each other. And that is that. I cannot possibly be expected to care about Hunter. I feel nothing for him.

Lucas on the other hand… Now there is a guy I can get behind and support as a love interest. He literally risks his life multiple times for her And I felt there was a little bit more development. Not the whole instalove thing.

Now if this turns into a love triangle (which, lets face it, this is YA… that always happens), I will be upset. Because I hate love triangles. In part because I usually end up rooting for the losing party. Except for Peeta and Edward. But other than that, I invariably pick the wrong one to root for. And then I get angry. And then I hate the series. Is it to much for an author to have only one love interest but to actually spend time developing it? To let it grow and for us, as a whole fan base, to cheer them on? I guess it is. But we will wait for a later book for me to really spiral off onto a tangent rant about my hate of this plot device.

The Action:
There was a lot of action in this book. And I really enjoyed that. The whole running from the supposed good guys who are really the bad guys and having to fight for your life thing… I really enjoy that in movies, and it was really enjoyable here. I like that MILA struggled with her human side and was determined not to be turned into the killer that she could be.

Final Conclusions:
Despite my rants and love, I actually really enjoyed this book and look forward to continuing the series. I debated giving this a lower rating because of the instalove and the other issues I brought up. But I decided that that was actually such a small part of the plot of this book that I would only deduct one star for it.

Rating: 4

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All Fall Down – Ally Carter

Title: All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1)

Author: Ally Carter

Summary From Goodreads:

A new series of global proportions — from master of intrigue, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter.

This exciting new series from NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world, and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.

Now, at age sixteen, she’s come back to stay–in order to solve the mystery of her mother’s death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.

Personal Review:

** spoiler alert ** I cannot write this review without revealing spoilers. Because the end of the book entirely dictates the rating I gave this book.

First of all, All Fall Down should be very happy that I have several book “issues”. The first is that I cannot quit a book, even if I hate it. The second is that I love Ally Carter. Because the truth is, if I had quit this book and rated it on all but the last 20 pages, it would have been a one star rating. But I love Ally Carter… and I have my issues… so I continued to the end. And I did love the end. That is the only reason it go so high as 2 stars.

Lets start with the characters. I hated the main character (Grace). I can’t even express fully how much I hated her. I spent most of my time reading this book, texting my sister, telling her how much I wished she would just shut up and die. She was immature, whiny, self-centered. She treated her friends poorly. She was extremely disrespectful to those around her. She was pretty much everything I hate in a character. She refused to listen to anyone else, convinced there was some big plot against her and that she was completely right. And then there was the constant feeling sorry for herself and the whole shoving it in other people’s faces that she had seen her mother die. Like she had to shock people at every turn. It was just really… painful. I honestly have nothing positive to say about Grace.

The other characters, however, I found interesting. I did not understand why they latched on to Grace and were so intent on being her friend. I also thought they were shallowly developed. First there is Megan. The person who wanted to be Grace’s friend every summer Grace came to visit. I am a little confused on why she was so quickly to be friends when it had been 3 years since they had seen each other. But she was actually a cool character and I found myself wanting her to go be a Gallagher Girl. Then there was Rosie. My only issue with Rosie is that there is no way she was only 12. No way her parents would let her have so much free reign at that young of an age. I feel like if she had been given a more realistic age, everything about her character would have been perfect.

And then there were the boys. Which brings me to one of my biggest book pet peeves. Instalove. I do not get it and I do not like it I mean, I don’t know if these boys exactly love her, but there is that idea of like an instant bond or something. The first time Grace and Noah meet, he proclaims himself her official best friend. I’m sorry, but what? That isn’t awkward at all. And then the story proceeds like they have been best friends their whole lives and he acts all super hurt when she didn’t tell him that she had accused multiple people of being her mother’s murderer and that she had been committed as a crazy person before. I mean those are some pretty heavy secrets. Then there was Alexei… He just seemed really… random. Like he was there and then he would disappear and then he would show back up again. I didn’t really get it.

The only thing that saved this book for me is the end. I spent most of this book being like “great, this is going to be one of those books where at the end, main character is going to be proven right the whole time about her mom being killed by scarface and then she is going to be vindicated.” I was actually extremely angry at this thought. But thank you, Ally Carter, for not going down that path. It might not have been the most believable ending, but at least it wasn’t horribly cliche.

Anyone else think “her mom was a Gallagher Girl” at the end of the book? Oh how I wanted that to be the case. Mainly because I love the Gallagher Girl books. It is one of my favorite series. I love the characters and I love the focus on friendship. I just really love them. And so I thought it would be cool to have a little tie in to that in this book. Probably won’t happen, but a girl can dream.

Will I read the next book in the series? Probably. Because… well it is Ally Carter and I love her books. But also because there are questions that need to be answered. And I like knowing answers. But I probably won’t buy it. Just borrow it from the library. Because, honestly, don’t know that it is worth my hard earned dollars.

Rating: 2

Legend by Marie Lu

Title: Legend

Author: Marie Lu

Summary From Goodreads:

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Personal Review:

Oh my goodness! I loved it. And for once, I did not hate the female lead. This is a pretty rare occurrence for me since I usually find that female leads are ridiculously stupid in the authors attempt to make them the perfect feminist character.

I liked the world that Marie Lu created for this series. It isn’t uncommon to have a dystopian novel set in the former United States, so that was nothing new. But to have parts of the former United States fighting with other parts of the former United States was rather interesting. Like when they mentioned a rebel colony in Madison, North Dakota, whereas this novel was taking place in Los Angeles, California. To not have the names changed to weird things was rather nice. Plus it helped me to mentally picture where everything was suppose to be taking place.

The characters were also likable. They were nice, yet still edgy. They had their flaws, but they weren’t too annoying. They tried to always do the right thing, even when that was difficult. June made some mistakes along the way, but when she realized what she had done, she tried to correct her ways while she could. She didn’t close her eyes to everything happening around her just because the reality was too difficult to deal with. And then there was John. I love John. Being an oldest sibling, I understand the powerful desire and drive to do everything in your power to protect your younger siblings. I have three younger sisters and I can tell you, there isn’t a line I wouldn’t cross in order to keep them safe. This is something that I sometimes thinking about when I watch them (sometimes even creeper style while they are sleeping). “How far would I go to protect you?” And as I watching them sleeping or chatting or laughing or fighting, I know the answer. I would do anything. So I get John. And I love him for being him.

Anyway, back on track. This novel isn’t so different than many other dystopians in that it is good vs evil. The poor and oppressed vs the government. But I still like watching the battle between the two sides take place. And maybe in the next book, we will find out more about the colonies. Are they good or are they evil? I cannot wait to start Prodigy!

Rating: 4.5

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

Title: Someone Like You

Author: Sarah Dessen

Summary From Goodreads:

Halley has always followed in the wake of her best friend, Scarlett. But when Scarlett learns that her boyfriend has been killed in a motorcycle accident, and that she’s carrying his baby, she’s devastated. For the first time ever, Scarlett really needs Halley. Their friendship may bend under the weight, but it’ll never break–because a true friendship is a promise you keep forever.

Personal Review:

There is something about Sarah Dessen… she is a magical enchantress. She weaves a spell over her reader and just tugs you deeper and deeper into her story until you aren’t quiet sure what is reality and what is the world she created and choose to share with you.

Someone Like You was probably the first Sarah Dessen book I ever read. I read it sometime when I was still in college… so like five or six years ago. And that is when my love affair with Dessen books began. I haven’t read them all, but every single one I have read, I have loved. It was so nice to re-read this book and rediscover all the things I loved about it in the first place.

Someone Like You isn’t a love story. It would be easy to think that, because there is love and romance in it. But more than that, this is a story about life. It is about all the things that make up life. Love and friendships and heartbreaks. Realizing that someone isn’t who you thought they were and someone else is even better than you thought they were. It is about falling down and then getting back up again. Making mistakes and living with the consequences. It is about finding out who you are and what is important to you. It is about drawing lines in the sand and standing by them, even when it hurts.

This is a novel that can’t help but touch you to the heart. As you read it, you come to see a part of yourself in the characters. Maybe your life isn’t exactly like Scarlet and Halley’s. But the fight for self-discovery is universal and it is real and it is powerful.

Honestly, I cannot say enough positive things about this book. I recommend that everyone read it!

Rating: 5

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Title: Crank

Author: Ellen Hopkins

Summary From Goodreads:

In Crank, Ellen Hopkins chronicles the turbulent and often disturbing relationship between Kristina, a character based on her own daughter, and the “monster,” the highly addictive drug crystal meth, or “crank.” Kristina is introduced to the drug while visiting her largely absent and ne’er-do-well father. While under the influence of the monster, Kristina discovers her sexy alter-ego, Bree: “there is no perfect daughter, / no gifted high school junior, / no Kristina Georgia Snow. / There is only Bree.” Bree will do all the things good girl Kristina won’t, including attracting the attention of dangerous boys who can provide her with a steady flow of crank

Personal Review:

I love Ellen Hopkins. She isn’t afraid to address the hard topics. And drug addiction is a hard topic. This book made me glad that I have never experimented with drugs. Or ever had a boyfriend who pressured me to do something I didn’t want to do… or made me feel like I should be doing something that I shouldn’t be.

Ellen Hopkins really knows how to pull on your heartstrings. The choices and decisions that Kristina (or Bree) make are all ones that I would never want to make. It was hard to watch her make those decisions and not be able to stop her. It was hard to understand why she made the decisions she made, but it was all very realistically portrayed.

Ellen Hopkins is a master at using verse to paint a story before your eyes. I normally hate verse, but I will read anything by Ellen Hopkins! Her books don’t leave anyone feeling happy and like all is right in the world. But instead, in the end, you are left thinking. And that is just as important as feeling happy and like all is right in the world.

Rating: 5

The Host

Title: The Host

Author: Stephanie Meyer

Summary From Goodreads:

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, didn’t expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she’s never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.

Featuring one of the most unusual love triangles in literature, THE HOST is a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the essence of what it means to be human.

Personal Review:

Story Universe: I have never read a body snatcher book, so this was a first… and I don’t think I have really read an alien book either (maybe one or two but I really don’t remember). So to me, this was all new. And I liked it. I liked the idea of these aliens that took over the human bodies… kinda like leeches… and the humans that resisted them. It was all very interesting. I look forward to reading the next two books in this series.

Characters: Wanderer – She is great. Really? How can she be so good? How is that possible? But she is and I loved it! So selfless. So self-sacrificing. So everything good! Melanie – She was perhaps a little too aggressive for my personal taste, but she grew on me. And I love the relationship that Wanda and Melanie develop. The genuine love and friendship that they develop between the two of them. I also liked watching it grow. It was completely natural. Jared – I did not like Jared. Not a fan at all. And I could not understand why both girls were so gaga over him. And I guess that when Melanie fell in love with him, she thought that he was the only other human left on the face of the earth. But aside from that, I found nothing likable about him. Blah. Ian – Oh Ian. Completely swoon-worthy. I loved him. He was so loyal and faithful and everything wonderful. I am glad that it all worked out like it should in the end. Jamie – Oh Jamie… I wish I had a little brother like Jamie. As it is, I have no brothers so I guess I am out of luck. I loved how loving he is. I think he truly is someone that you couldn’t help but love. Kyle – You spent forever hating him. Like the whole book. And then in the end, he redeems himself. And that is perhaps the most beautiful part of the story. In the end, this is a book about redemption.

Romance: To tell you the truth, the depth of love in this book is too much for me. I don’t believe in love that strong. So strong that a body, not occupied by that body, cries out for that one true love. I don’t accept that. Like if someone woke up from a coma and had no memories, their body would still call for that one person… I don’t accept that. In addition, I don’t like when love is put above all other family. And I felt that many times, the love that Melanie and Wanda directed towards Jared was stronger than the love that they had for Jamie. I didn’t like that at all. I liked the love that was shared between Ian and Wanda because it seemed more reasonable and more logical.

Conclusion: I liked it. Except for the extremity of the romance. I recommend it. It is much better than the Twilight series.

Rating: 4

And Then There Were None

Title: And Then There Were None

Author: Agatha Christie

Summary From Goodreads:

Ten people, each with something to hide and something to fear, are invited to a lonely mansion on Indian Island by a host who fails to appear but leaves a recording accusing all of undetected murder. Cut off by his orders, one by one each die according to a nursery rhyme Ten Little Indians. A confession in a bottle solves how nobody remains alive.

Personal Review:

This was my very first Agatha Christie novel and I have to say that I loved it. It certainly won’t be my last novel. The mystery was very brilliantly thought out and I spent most of the book trying to figure out exactly “who dunnit”. I debated quiet a few theories and I was half right on one of my theories, but as it was not my final theory, I guess I can’t really count myself as correct.

The main problem I had with this book is that I had trouble keeping track of who was who. So many characters to make a sudden appearance that it was difficult to keep track of who was accused of commiting which crime and for what reason they did it. And then which committed crime the murdered person had committed. By the time it was down to only 3-4 left, I had it down, but it took me a while to put it all together.

I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery and will definitely look forward to reading more from Agatha Chrisite. I might even take a look at this one again

Rating: 5