Well Played: The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

Welcome back BookTasty friends!

James Dashner is one of my favorite YA authors and his Maze Runner series is always my number one recommendation in my library. So, I was pretty excited to see that he had another book coming out! The Eye of Minds is the first book in the Mortality Doctrine series.

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to Eye of Minds by James Dashnertechnology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker. And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.
But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

Let me start by saying that The Eye of Minds is not as good as The Maze Runner books, but it is an entertaining adventure that has Dashner’s signature non stop action style!

In typical Dashner fashion, the first scene is so intense that you’re automatically captivated by the story! We quickly learn that, Michael lives in a future where many people get their entertainment in a virtual reality experience, the VirtNet. I like this take on futuristic technology and the idea that there is someone, or something, in this “game” that is hurting people in real life, as well as in the virtual one. It makes for a very menacing and mysterious villain.

One thing about this book I enjoyed was that Micahel isn’t in it alone. He doesn’t leave everyone else behind to achieve his goal. He takes his friends with him because he knows that they all have different strengths and weaknesses. Although the characters fell a tiny bit flat at times, I still really liked Michael and his friends mostly because of the way they interacted together, which is a change from the usual YA “only you can save the world”.

The Eye of Minds reminded me of a giant game of Mouse Trap, in that each chapter is action packed with hurdles and challenges for Michael and his friends to overcome (they reminded me a little of Doctor Who episodes sometimes). However, there is a sense of predictability in the overall plot. Until you get to the twist of course! I remember standing in my kitchen cooking dinner while listening to the audiobook and having to relisten to the final chapter because I was so stunned and surprised by what had happened! Well played Mr. Dashner. Well played.

Although this is not the first Dasher title I’d recommend to people, I think that those who are fans of his writing will ultimately enjoy The Eye of Minds. It’s not as strong as I would’ve liked, but it was still a fun and exciting read.

Author: James Dashner

Publisher: Listening Library (October 8, 2013)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 8 hours and 36 minutes

Narrator(s): Erik Davies

Series: First in the Mortality Doctrine series


Buy the Book:



It’s a Weird One: Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve


I recently finished Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve, after years of passing by it in my library as I straightened out the shelves and I have to say, this was such a weird book!

Fever Crumb is a girl who has been adopted and raised by Dr. Crumb, a member of the order of Engineers, where she serves as apprentice. In a time and place where women are not seen as reasonable creatures, Fever is an anomaly, the only female to serve in the order.Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve

Soon though, she must say goodbye to Dr. Crumb – nearly the only person she’s ever known – to assist archeologist Kit Solent on a top-secret project. As her work begins, Fever is plagued by memories that are not her own and Kit seems to have a particular interest in finding out what they are. Fever has also been singled out by city-dwellers who declare her part Scriven. The Scriveners, not human, ruled the city some years ago but were hunted down and killed in a victorious uprising by the people. If there are any remaining Scriven, they are to be eliminated. All Fever knows is what she’s been told: that she is an orphan. Is Fever a Scriven? Whose memories does she hold? Is the mystery of Fever, adopted daughter of Dr. Crumb, the key to the secret that lies at the heart of London?

As I said before, this was a weird book. I originally wanted to read Fever Crumb because I thought it was steam-punk and that I’d really enjoy Fever as a character.  Well, the world Reeve has created isn’t quite steam-punk, in fact, Fever’s world is so far ahead in the future that it is this strange “futuristically backwards” society.  It’s almost as if society became so advanced that it had no where else to go and simply regressed, so much so that technologies like computers are considered ancient, yet most of Fever’s world runs on steam power. I do think I misclassified Fever Crumb at first, and it is not strictly steam-punk so much as it is just sci-fi, but readers who are fans of the steam-punk genre will probably enjoy this one too. Whatever it is, it’s an incredibly interesting setting.

I also originally thought I’d enjoy fever as a character, but I struggled to really like Fever. Because Fever was raised with the order of Engineers, she was taught that emotion was irrational and that practicality was key, she is rather unsympathetic. She could be so straight forward and harsh at the wrong times, which just make it hard for me to like her. In her defense however, after leaving the Engineers and experiencing the outside world, Fever does struggle with her own emotions verses being rational and she does learn that it can be a good thing to act on one’s feelings. She was just too practical for me to really love her like I was hoping I would.

Despite not really liking Fever, I was so engrossed in her story. The more time that she spends away from the protection of the Engineers, Fever’s personal history begins to unfurl and she starts to learn things about herself that she never knew. This is what I enjoyed about this book. I wanted to know where Fever actually came from and how she fit in with the turmoil of her society. The story really is pretty interesting and action packed, despite having Fever as a lackluster subject.

So, if you enjoy sci-fi and strange futuristic worlds you may really like Fever Crumb. I recommend the audiobook too because it was narrated by the author which is always fun! Although it wasn’t my favorite, it was an entertainingly strange read!

Author: Philip Reeve

Publisher: Scholastic Audio (March 1, 2011)

Format: Audiobooks

Length: 6 hours and 59 minutes

Narrator(s): Philip Reeve (yes the author!)

Series: Book 1 in the Fever Crumb series.


Buy the Book: Fever Crumb


Waiting on Wednesday: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Welcome back!

Waiting on Wednesday (hosted by Breaking the Spine) was created to allow book bloggers a space to highlight upcoming new releases.

This week I’m shining the spotlight on Uninvited by Sophie Jordan.

UninvitedThe Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she’s destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone. Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

Talk about in intriguing summary! I love the description as a mashup between The Scarlet Letter and Minority Report! thriller and it totally creeps me out – the idea of being able to predict a homicidal tendency gene! I still haven’t read Jordan’s Firelight series (even though I own the first book) but I hear such good things about her books that I’m excited for this one! Also, did you pay attention to the cool DNA hair on the cover?! WHAT!!

Uninvited is scheduled to release on January 28 from HarperTeen.




Fairy Tale with a Twist of Sci-Fi: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Welcome back BookTasty friends!

Whew! Moving is intense! First the packing and living in chaos, then the cleaning and packing up the truck. This is then followed by driving the truck and your cars to new home (from Florida to South Carolina in our case) and unpacking said truck. Finally  you unpack boxes and organize. It’s a good thing we have amazing friends in both states who were ready to help!

Recently I was able to snatch up the audiobook of Scarlet by Marissa Meyer from my library – I literally did a little happy Scarlet by Marissa Meyerjumping dance in the middle of the teen section when I saw it sitting on the shelf! I absolutely loved Meyer’s first book in The Lunar Chronicles, Cinder, so I knew Scarlet (book two) was one I had to read!

The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth. Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Marissa Meyer just knows how to write a fun book! Fairy tale retellings are some of my favorites, and Meyer took the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale and added a kick-butt futuristic, sci-fi twist to it. LOVE!

In Cinder, we met Cinder and Prince Kai. Their stories were great – a cyborg Cinderella meets reluctant prince amidst a plague epidemic in futuristic Asia? But what I love about Meyer’s storytelling is she doesn’t stop with them and make them the central focus of each book, she adds in new main characters to move the plot forward but also add new story lines. In Scarlet we met, Scarlet (who always wears her red hoodie) and Wolf, an intriguing mystery guy who knows more than he lets on.

As a main character it took me a while to warm up to Scarlet. In the beginning she seems unnecessarily reckless and rebellious, but her sarcasm (which I’m always a fan of) starts to grow on you and you can’t help but be on her side. Plus, the more and more I remember the original story of Red Riding Hood, Scarlet’s personality reflects Red Riding Hood pretty well. Not following authority’s recommendations?! That’s Scarlet!

On another character note, Cinder is much darker and snappier than she was in the first book, but then again if I was on the run from the law I’d probably be a little snappy too! Oh and Captain Thorne?  You remind me of someone just as naughty and honorable…(pssst…it’s Captain Mal from Firefly). Of course, Queen Levana is an evil and manipulative as ever, while her “army” is terrifying!

Meyer’s sci-fi futuristic world is fabulously imagined, but isn’t the focus of the story. The reader isn’t laden down with technology and scientific descriptions of things. These characters live a world of robots, vid-screens, trackers,s pace ships, and cyborgs but ultimately the reader can recognize the world as one that’s not so different from ours today.

So, all in all I really enjoyed Scarlet and can’t wait for the next book in The Lunar Chronicles, Cress which is to be released in early 2014. So, if you’re looking for a quality fairy tale retelling, or are in the mood for some fun science fiction you should definitely read Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (only you should start with Cinder since, you know, it is the first book!).

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel and Friends (February 5, 2013)

Format: audiobook

Length: 11 hours and 19 minutes

Series: Second book in The Lunar Chronicles


Buy the Book:  Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles, Book 2)


Waiting on Wednesday: The Bone Season


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.

This week I’m patiently waiting on The Bone Season, a debut by Samantha Shannon

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal The Bone Season by Samantha Shannonunderworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

So, The Bone Season is getting tons of awesome press. Apparently the Samantha Shannon has already signed a six figure deal with her publisher for the first three books in this seven book series. It’s all very, very interesting. I like the premise behind what I read in this summary, so hopefully The Bone Season will live up to the hype! But, we won’t know until August 20…but that’s not TOO far away!


Waiting on Wednesday: Allegiant

Hi there!

Allegiant by Veronia RothOkay, so today is my last day with my students at my school…


We’re moving to South Carolina this summer and I’ve been at this school for seven years, starting right after college. So, as you can tell, I’m going to be a bit emotional today.

To distract myself from the sadness I’ve decided to think about how much I cannot wait for the conclusion to Veronica Roth’s  dystopian Divergent trilogy, Allegiant

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

Tris! Four! What’s going to happen to the factions?! I need to know now!

If you haven’t yet read Divergent and Insurgent, the first two books in the trilogy, you really need to make them a priority! They’re really awesome reads and the Divergent movie (with Ashley Judd AND Kate Winslet!) is currently filming in Chicago as you read this!

If you’d like to know more about this series, check out my reviews of Divergent and Insurgent.

Allegiant is slated to release in October 2013, so unfortunately I still have a few months to wait.  But you can bet that when this book releases on October 22, I’ll have my copy! :)

What book(s) are you waiting for today?


Waiting on Wednesday: These Broken Stars

Hi there!

Every week I participate in Waiting on Wednesday, which is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. The point of Waiting on Wednesday is to shed a little light on some upcoming new releases I’m excited about.

I was browsing GoodReads a few weeks ago and stumbled upon These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.  I read the These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spoonersummary and immediately fell in love with it!

Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen never should have met. She’s the socialite daughter of the richest man in the galaxy, and he’s a decorated soldier fighting back rebellions on newly terraformed planets. But when the vast luxury spaceliner they’re both traveling on crashes, they find themselves thrown together as the two sole survivors on an alien planet.

As they survive harsh conditions and dwindling supplies—not to mention each other—the two begin to uncover a mystery surrounding the abandoned planet that neither of them could have guessed.

The first in a trilogy, These Broken Stars sets into motion a series of timeless, standalone love stories that span galaxies—and are linked by their shared worlds and one mysterious enemy.

Doesn’t this sound really interesting? Like really, REALLY good?!  I know right?!  It looks like I’ll have to wait until 2013 for These Broken Stars to be published by Disney-Hyperion though.  Will I be able to wait?!


My Type of Sci-Fi: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Hey there!

Let me start by saying that I’m pretty much kicking butt in my personal goal for the 2012 YA Audiobook Challenge! I am participating in the Head Bangin’ Level which means I need to listen to 36+ YA audiobooks and review at least 24 of them.  I’m already on 19 reviews and it is still August!  Today’s review of Beth Revis’ Across the Universe is number 20!Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Science Fiction is a genre I’m not used to saying I like yet.  I do like it, but I didn’t for so long because I think I always thought science fiction looked like this:

Now don’t get me wrong, some people may really enjoy this specific type of sci-fi which strange-looking space creatures and aliens interacting with humans, but it’s not my thing. I’m more into the humans in the future with really cool technology and/or living in space type of sci-fi, like this: Firefly

Across the Universe fits perfectly into my preferred type of sci-fi.  You have people living in the future on a spaceship, in…SPACE! Plus there is all sorts of cool technology, even if it is sometimes used unethically. I don’t want to give too much away, but the idea that people would choose to be cryogenically frozen in order to populate a new planet 200 years into the future is awesome. There is this whole underlying theme of genetics and ethical decisions with a tad bit of dystopian leadership thrown in. I actually find all of the genetic meddling that goes on throughout the story to be an incredibly realistic possibility for the future. Revis manages to pinpoint both the coolness and creepiness factors of genetic science and technology.

At its heart though, Across the Universe, is also your basic murder mystery. Someone is trying to kill the other frozen passengers on the ship and it’s up to Amy and Elder to figure out who is behind it all. The whole point of view switches between Amy and Elder add to the mystery surrounding the ship and what is actually happening on it.  You get a newcomer’s perspective as well as that of one who was born on the ship and is accustomed to its culture.

When it comes to Amy and Elder, both of them frustrated me at times.  I felt like despite what Elder knows about Eldest or how things are run on the ship, he is still so quick to believe what he already knows. But, I guess it is easier to go with what you know rather than the unknown.  And I sometimes wanted to tell Amy to listen to the people around her.  She often just does what she wants without thinking about the consequences and how they affect others. But without this device it can be hard to move a story along.  These flaws didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book at all, I just wanted to point them out.

The sequel, A Million Suns, was released in January of this year, so I need to get my hands on it because I had fun listening to this one. In fact, I hope the same two narrators (one for Amy and one for Elder) also read for the second book.  Because of some sexual language and scenes referring to “The Season” (oh the infamous season!!) is definitely YA not MG and I’d only recommend Across the Universe to high school aged readers and those like me, who may be a little older!

Author: Beth Revis

Publisher: Penguin Audio (January 11, 2011)

Format: Audiobook

Length: 10 hrs and 11 mins

Narrator(s): Lauren Ambrose and Carlos Santos

Series: First in the Across the Universe series


Buy the Book:  Across the Universe


Waiting on Wednesday: The Kill Order


Happy Wednesday everyone!

The Kill Order by James Dashner
My husband and I are pretty excited about this prequel book to The Maze Runner series. We listened to The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials together and we just started book number three, The Death Cure over the weekend. If you haven’t read these books you simply need to! Dashner creates suspense with the best of them and this story leaves you wondering what is truth and what is a lie so many times! Here is the summary for The Kill Order.

Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease. 
The Kill Order is the story of that fall.

So hurry up and read this series before Delacourte Young Readers releases The Kill Order on August 14!