Book Review: Invaded (ARC) by Melissa Landers

17316770This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through Disney-Hyperion at the American Library Association Conference for free. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, medical Science Fiction, for sale Romance

Pages: 

368

Part of a Series?:

This is the second novel of the Alienated series. To read my review of Alienated, click here.

Release Date: 

February 3rd, 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

The romantic sequel to Alienated takes long-distance relationships to a new level as Cara and Aelyx long for each other from opposite ends of the universe…until a threat to both their worlds reunites them. 

Cara always knew life on planet L’eihr would be an adjustment. With Aelyx, her L’eihr boyfriend, back on Earth, working to mend the broken alliance between their two planets, Cara is left to fend for herself at a new school, surrounded by hostile alien clones. Even the weird dorm pet hates her.

Things look up when Cara is appointed as human representative to a panel preparing for a human colony on L’eihr. A society melding their two cultures is a place where Cara and Aelyx could one day make a life together. But with L’eihr leaders balking at granting even the most basic freedoms, Cara begins to wonder if she could ever be happy on this planet, even with Aelyx by her side.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Aelyx, finds himself thrown into a full-scale PR campaign to improve human-L’eihr relations. Humans don’t know that their very survival depends on this alliance: only Aelyx’s people have the technology to fix the deadly contamination in the global water supply that human governments are hiding. Yet despite their upper hand, the leaders of his world suddenly seem desperate to get humans on their side, and hardly bat an eye at extremists’ multiple attempts on Aelyx’s life.

The Way clearly needs humans’ help . . . but with what? And what will they ask for in return?

My Review:

Please note that while this review will have no spoilers for Invaded, it will have spoilers for Alienated. Please check out the review for that book at the link above!

I have never been so grateful in my entire life to the girl working the Disney-Hyperion booth at ALA a couple weeks ago. I spotted Alienated, because it had been on my radar and I asked them if they were giving out copies of it. They weren’t BUT they were having a signing with Melissa Landers later in the day and giving away the second book, Invaded. I decided to try and make it to the signing. Melissa’s signing was literally at the same time as David Levithan, Jay Asher, Lauren Myracle, Jessica Brody, Josephine Angelini…a ton of authors. But I wanted to make it. I bounced from booth to booth to booth and finally made it over there and was excited to see that she was still signing.

Then I got super sad because they were out of books. I decided I would stand in line to talk to her anyway, maybe just introduce myself and then the girl in front of me said “I don’t know Melissa, so here, have this”, and handed me a copy of Invaded. I was so excited. Melissa was super sweet, and I knew I had to get home and read Alienated. Which I did, in one night. The next day, I read Invaded. I’m so glad that I got my hands on this book because it pressured me to purchase and read the first one and I absolutely love these two books. They are easily now a favorite for me.

Melissa continues a well thought out story that she had concocted in book one. We leave book one with this: Cara and Aelyx will be split for months, Cara to continue the exchange program on L’eihr and Aelyx to go down to Earth to complete the alliance, to ensure that it goes through. While the first book was centered on the somewhat small circle of Cara and Aelyx’s romance, and the town that turned their backs against them, this book focuses on the bigger picture. The romance is there (oh thank god, because it makes me so happy) but its so focused. Cara is figuring out more and more who she is and what she wants and where she wants to be. She’s figuring out where she fits in, on the planet that she’s intended to spend her life. She’s trying to come to terms with how different the L’eihr really are to her. Her life in their schools, and their society is difficult and the ever optimist is having problems. I love this character development. It makes me incredibly happy to see a character struggle and question things, even things she was so firm on before.

Then we continue to Aelyx. I love that he was able to spend more time on Earth. Obviously he changed his mind about earth and the alliance when he came to the exchange program and fell in love with Cara. But I think in Alienated, it had more to do with Cara and his affection for her and her parents that changed his mind more than anything else. I mean, the other humans he was exposed to didn’t exactly give him reason to want to save the planet or anything. However I think by spending more time on Earth, around other humans and without the rosy taint of love with Cara around him constantly, he grew more desiring of the alliance. I liked that he seemed to be trying new foods, and that he genuinely started a friendship with a new character. I liked the effect it had on him and his personality and I love what that did to Syrine. I loved the way the L’eihr changed during their time on earth.

I also really liked the bigger picture we got. This wasn’t just about Cara and Aelyx anymore. This was about the betterment of both societies, both species and the necessity of the alliance. The events that were happening on Earth and the events that were happening with Cara in space, they were threatening to this alliance. Everything is hanging in the balance, one small move could ruin everything. Not only would it ruin this beautiful romance that I ship so hard its not even funny, but it would ruin the relationship between these two species and it would mean the complete destruction of the planet, because Earth so desperately needs the L’eihr to cure the water supply.

The only slight problem that I had was that Cara had to make a fairly big decision in the end. I’m happy with the decision that she made but I was kind of thrown off with how quickly she made it. She was very adamant in her decision but she changed her mind, I was very thrown off. I thought it would have taken a bit more for her to make that decision and I was slightly upset that the character would…change her gumption that easily. However, when I was talking to Melissa on Twitter, she said Disney-Hyperion have signed on for two books, and so she probably had to wrap it up as much as possible while still enticing interest for a hopefully third book (Please Disney-Hyperion!!!!). So while I wasn’t a massive fan of this, I understand why it was done. I know that’s vague but I’m trying to be spoiler free!

All in all, if you loved Alienated, you’re going to love Invaded. I know that the final product may be completely different from what I read but I’m hoping that there are little changes because I really did love this book and I’m hoping the publishers hear my plea for more books!

Rating:

4 out of 5 Stars

 

Weekly Fangirl Round-Up!

Nerd Girl News

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Debut novel, Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira, has been optioned for film!

Stephanie Leigh Schlund, Cashmere in Catching Fire, confirmed that she joined the cast of Insurgent, as a yet to be revealed member of Amity.

Alfonso Cuaron has been confirmed as NOT directing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Mockingjay Filming continues in Berlin, check out some photos!

Two More People have Been Cast for Insurgent!

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Watch the new trailer for Daniel Radcliffe’s rom com, What If!

Pixar’s 2015 film “Inside Out” has an official synopsis.

Some news of True Detective, season 2, has been revealed: it will have THREE main characters.

Emma Watson, queen bee, and our Hermione Granger, has graduated from Brown University!

One Direction fan fiction “After” has officially gotten a publishing deal.

Robbie Amell, my future boyfriend, has been cast in a role in the movie adaptation of The DUFF.

Secrets about the could-have-been season 2 of Starcrossed were revealed.

Posts and Vlogs

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Book Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (No Spoilers!)

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Ontario Teen Book Fest Recap!

Why The Mortal Instruments is Important to Me!

Book Review: Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn

Goddess by Josephine Angelini Review

Goddess by Josephine Angelini

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You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

After accidentally unleashing the gods from their captivity on Olympus, online Helen must find a way to re-imprison them without starting a devastating war. But the gods are angry, and their thirst for blood already has a body count.

To make matters worse, the Oracle reveals that a diabolical Tyrant is lurking among them, which drives a wedge between the once-solid group of friends. As the gods use the Scions against one another, Lucas’s life hangs in the balance. Still unsure whether she loves him or Orion, Helen is forced to make a terrifying decision, for war is coming to her shores.

In Josephine Angelini’s compelling conclusion to the masterfully woven Starcrossed trilogy, a goddess must rise above it all to change a destiny that’s been written in the stars. With worlds built just as fast as they crumble, love and war collide in an all-out battle that will leave no question unanswered and no heart untouched.

My Review:

This review will NOT contain spoilers for this particular novel, but it will contain spoilers for the two previous novels. You can read my review of Starcrossed here and my review of Dreamless here

Having never read The Iliad, I’m not really familiar with the story, so I had NO idea what direction this was going in at all. I know Greek mythology and stories fairly well so I had an idea but this is a retelling so obviously Josie Angelini was going to have some twists going on here.

And she definitely did. I was able to meet Josephine at the Los Angeles Teen Book Fest this past Saturday and being able to talk with her, and to hear her insight on how she wrote the books, and what her methods were like, and even just getting some advice from her really made me want to run home to finish this book.

Which is pretty much exactly what I did.

The thing that I really love about this story, and the continuation of the entire trilogy is that it is based on something we’ve read before but it is twisted, and that is what makes it so compelling. We know the story of Helen of Troy, at least a little bit. I feel like most everyone has a slight knowledge of the story. But no matter what, you still don’t see the end of Goddess coming, and that’s what makes it so compelling. You know the tragic ending of the original story and you’re afraid of what the end of this one might be, but that’s what keeps you turning the pages. Everything that has been going on in all the books is leading down to this moment where the fight between the Scions and the gods is going to happen.

I’ll also say that she really knows how to write a battle scene. Its confusing to read her battle scene but that’s what I like about a good battle scene> I want to feel lost and confused and like I’m spinning in circles and I can’t quite find the right direction because that’s what I’d imagine being in the middle of a battle would feel like. Because we often get multiple points of view in this story, you really see the chaos of it all, and I think that’s brilliant. I wish I could write in third person, and maybe one day I’ll have to give it a try to see if I can do that. I write all first person, but the winding of the multiple third person point of views, especially during that battle scene, is incredible.

Plus, and I won’t say more than this, because, you know, spoilers: kraken. Enough said.

I also think that Angelini knows how to make sacrifices as well. I hate happy endings. I do. I mean, obviously I don’t want a book to end in complete and totally despair but I also don’t really want it to be sunshines and rainbows and happiness. Not in books that are paranormal or fantasy or sci-fi because there are wars and battles and fights involved and you’re crazy if you think people don’t get hurt. I hate books where people don’t get hurt because its unrealistic. Goddess has its share of deaths and sacrifices and they HURT, but a good book can make you hurt, and so I was impressed by her ability to make me care for these people and then care when they died.

All in all, a great ending to a fine trilogy. And I’m not going to lie, I really actually want to read The Iliad now ;)

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars

Book of the Week-Dreamless

Normally, check I try REALLY hard not to do sequels as the Book of the Week, because if you haven’t read the first book, you really don’t know what’s going on, and can’t really read the Book of the Week post.

Or I’ll do sequels if I know that enough people have read the previous ones, like with Divergent or the Heroes of Olympus, which are two sequel books (Allegiant and House of Hades) that I definitely will be using as Book of the Weeks soon.

I already read Starcrossed, and to be honest, it just didn’t hook me that much. It was recommended to me by a trusted friend, someone who recommends books to me all the time, and I knew I had to keep trying, so I picked up Goddess. I read about half, put it aside, and read quite a few others books in the meantime.

Last night, I got about 75% of the way through another book, which honestly disappointed me hugely, and I gave up. Moving on down my list o’ books (which is pretty ridiculous and OCD….seriously), Dreamless was next, and I really had to give it a good try. I’m meeting Josephine next week at the Los Angeles Teen Book Fest (more on that later!), and I want to have an honest opinion about her books before I see her.

And the reason that Dreamless is the Book of the Week, and not just a mere review gets down to one point: that while the first book didn’t capture me and embrace me, the second one definitely did. I’m about a quarter of the way through Goddess, the final book of the trilogy, and can’t wait to see how it ends.

Dreamless by Josephine Angelini

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GoodReads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository

Genre:

Young Adult, Fantasy

Part of a Series?:

Yes, the second book of the Starcrossed trilogy

Please remember that while there will be NO spoilers for this particular book, there will be spoilers for the first book.

You May Like if You Liked:

The Covenant Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan

Age Recommendation:

Please keep in mind that these are MY personal recommendations, and it varies between each person. I know that some YA is a little more adult than others, and I don’t want to encourage a younger teen to read something that isn’t appropriate for them. 

13+:

Plot Summary:

Dreamless continues the story of Helen Hamilton, a shy girl living on Nantucket Island whose desire for an ordinary life was thwarted when she discovered she is a Scion, a descendant of a Greek god and a mortal. Each Scion has a power, and Helen’s is the ability to travel to Hades.
 
Helen is determined to use her talent to stop a war amongst the gods and change her destiny, which is to live a life patterned after that of the tragic Helen of Troy. But her quest may cost her Lucas Delios, the boy she loves.

Dreamless really follows Helen as she uses her power to Descend into the Underworld, to discover a way to gain favor with the Furies, to help break that curse where Scions of opposite families want to kill each other, especially since Hector is a traitor and the Delios all have blood lust when around him. But the more she Descends, the more it takes a toll on herself, and everything and everyone around her.

The Bad:

It took a REALLY long to get through this book. I started it, then put it aside, then picked it up again, then put it aside. The first half of the book just really drags, as Helen Descends into Hades over and over and over and over and over again. It just got really repetitive and honestly, kind of boring. I was like, okay, something needs to start happening or I’m going to throw something. I didn’t end up actually throwing something but I did set this book aside a few times. It just didn’t compel me at first. I think once the second half picked up, and Helen had more of a direction, and so did the rest of the story, and she finally felt more of a handle on things, the book sped up and I finished the last half last night, easily.

I also *think* that Josephine is introducing a love triangle in this book, and that just made me incredibly frustrated.

The Good:

I liked the twist on the Furies in this novel. I think that’s a huge thing that brought me back into the novel. The Furies are always portrayed as evil, or at the very least, completely inconvenient. They’re still totally NOT good in this book as well. They are the cause behind the Scions having such hatred toward each other and why Ariadne and Lucas and Jason want to tear out Hector, their family, whenever they are near him. And Helen is determined to fix that. I like that her approach in fixing this is so different than anything else, and its ultimately a good thing. The solution to the problem isn’t as easy as you’d think it would be, especially with the general attitude toward The Furies.

I also like the direction that Helen is going in. She’s really stepping into her powers, and embracing exactly who she is. I know that in the first book, she was still learning but there were times when I wanted to kind of punch her in the face. But in this book, I really begin to admire the strong person that she is. Because she doesn’t just have these powers, and a physical strength, but she’s extremely clever as well, and that really makes for a strong character. I say again and again that physical strength is incredibly awesome in a character, but that a lot of people think a character can ONLY be a strong character if they’re a fighter or a warrior, or any of that, but intelligence makes for an incredibly strong character. Helen has both, definitely.

She really built up a story that left you panting for the next book. Second books need to be that bridge between the first and the third and it really does that. I immediately wanted to read the next book, which was difficult because it was 2 a.m. I really liked that Josephine filled my new addiction to Greek myths in YA lit and that she did so in such a unique way.

I love all the new appearances of gods as well too. We see so many different versions of the gods and goddesses in different books, and there’s always a different perspective of who is ‘good’ or who is ‘bad’, and I am intrigued at who is on what side in this book. I’m also interested to see what sort of havoc they wreak on the world because Josephine doesn’t hold back, you know? She really takes this idea and matures it in a way that you’re almost horrified. You’re horrified that this could be happening to any one of these characters.

And seriously, I just gotta say it? Can Daphne please just tell Helen and Lucas that they aren’t really cousins? I am so heartbroken over that, it makes me think of Jace and Clary in Mortal Instruments, and I can’t handle it. Its so full of angst and I just want to punch them both, while at the same time, hoping they’ll make out. Yeah, I said it.

Rating:

3.75 out of 5

Recommended or Not:

I’m in a serious Greek myth thing going on right now, and I think I’m blaming Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Covenant series, which you all saw that I BUSTED my way through in a matter of days. I also have Dreamless left to read of this series, and House of Hades comes out on Tuesday, and I also just recently purchased Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs, which has some Greek myths thrown in there. I need a break from dystopians haha.

But that being said, I really liked THIS book of the trilogy so far. Starcrossed was really hard for me to get through, maybe because I hadn’t quite fallen into my Greek obsession yet, or maybe because I was waiting for the sequel. Its like Empire Strikes Back, or something, which we all know is infinitely better than the first one (though the first one is my favorite!), and I honestly think, yes, please read this series. I think its a unique look at the myths of Greece, which is hard, with so many books attempting to do so.

So after that long rant, yes, I recommend this book :)

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I hope you all enjoyed this week’s Book of the Week. Stay tuned for next week’s when I review Rick Riordan’s The House of Hades!

Happy Reading Everyone!

September Book Wrap Up!

Okay, viagra approved I totally copied this from my fangirl best friend, Sylvia, from FanGirlFeeels, so I want to show her much credit. Check out her own September Book Wrap Up here!

I think I want to start doing this every month because I read a LOT of books in a month and I want to be able to share at the end of the month, all the books I’ve read and reviewed in one spot. Click on each book title to read my review of it!

So here we go!

Books Pledged to Read in 2013: 200 Books

Read so Far: 150

On Track?: For once, yes!

The Enchanter Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

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The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

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The Transfer by Veronica Roth

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Angelfall by Susan Ee

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Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini 

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell 

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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

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Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

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Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian 

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The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey 

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Half Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

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Saving Raphael Santiago by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan

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3:59 by Gretchen McNeil

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Pure by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Deity by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Elixir by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Apollyon by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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What books did you read in September? What were some of your favorites, and which ones fell flat? As always, share in the comments! 

Starcrossed Book Review

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

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You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Author Website

GoodReads Summary:

How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it’s getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, information pills only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she’s haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, visit she has no way of knowing they’re destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

My Review:

I have very mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I really really enjoyed it and sped through it pretty quickly. On the other hand, I was like, meh, its okay. But I’m not sure if that sort of opinion is coming from the fact that I read this absolutely fantastic book yesterday so its really hard to compare.

I really did like Starcrossed though. I liked the twist on the Greek mythology and the idea of a demigod. The only history I’d had with such things were the actual Greek myths (I’ve been obsessed for as long as I can remember) and then, of course, Percy Jackson. What I thought was really interesting about Starcrossed is that it presented a really different view of the demigod. In Percy Jackson, we get gods and goddesses that just seem to be absent, like their children were the product of one-night stands and that was that. In Starcrossed, they are absent as well but its more of a darker reason, and there is a lot in hanging in their return. The kids in PJ wish their parents would pay attention to them, and the demigods of Starcrossed struggle to keep the treaty that keeps the gods’ involvement OUT Of their life. I thought that was really interesting. Its not a happy thing to be, and to interact with those in different god families is not good.

What I really liked about the main character is that she knew something was wrong with her, and she’s known forever, but she just hasn’t been able to figure out. And when you are with her as she is going through this crazy dreams, and weird feelings, you start thinking that maybe she really is crazy. That’s the sort of good story. You don’t just automatically assume that she has special powers or that she is part of a special race, etc. You honestly, for a time, start to believe that there is something wrong with her. But once she figures out what is going on, and Lucas and his family bring her in, and show her who she is, I really started to love the story. The Greek mythology, combined with the contemporary world was just beautiful, and I loved the various powers that she was capable of. I love that they have different powers, and they discover new ones and can hone them. I liked that once she was able to accept who she was, and where she came from (for the most part), she really starts to step into her own, and she is less afraid than she was before. I feel that she becomes braver, even though the danger increases.

I do have a small complaint that the relationship between Lucas and Helen. I don’t like the idea, all the time, of a tragic romance. When Helen meets Lucas, she wants to kill him, immediately, without even really knowing him, but we learn why later, and eventually, without ruining anything, she…gets past that. And of course, she is immediately attracted to him. Then, in an even more obvious turn of events, he turns her away, but still kind of flirts with her and shows her interest, which only makes the attraction just that much worse. Lucas says that they can never be together, even though he wants to be, and refuses to tell her why. So that was a small determent from the story, for me, at least.

I will say this though, the way the book ends with their relationship is not at all what I expected and it made me immediately addicted and immediately want to go and read Dreamless, the sequel. It was unexpected because its not something that you see in a lot of books. I know that I’m being incredibly vague but I don’t want to ruin that book for you. Let’s just its a plot device that we don’t see often in recent, contemporary books, though we do see it similarly in one of my favorite series, and so I thought it was pretty juicy to add into this story.

All in all, it was an enjoyable book, one that I sped through fairly quickly, and one that I definitely will read again, and it encouraged me enough to make me want to read the second one, which I’ll hopefully be buying soon.

Rating:

4 out of 5 stars