Friday, July 8, 2016

Double Reviews: Once Was A Time & Zenith

Once Was A Time by Leila Sales
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: April 5th, 2016
Source: ALA Midwinter
Date Read: 7/1/16
272 pages
Rating: 1/2


In the war-ravaged England of 1940, Charlotte Bromley is sure of only one thing: Kitty McLaughlin is her best friend in the whole world. But when Charlotte's scientist father makes an astonishing discovery that the Germans will covet for themselves, Charlotte is faced with an impossible choice between danger and safety. Should she remain with her friend or journey to another time and place? Her split-second decision has huge consequences, and when she finds herself alone in the world, unsure of Kitty's fate, she knows that somehow, some way, she must find her way back to her friend. Written in the spirit of classic time-travel tales, this book is an imaginative and heartfelt tribute to the unbreakable ties of friendship.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

Even though Once Was A Time is middle grade, the combination of time travel and WWII really drew me in. Those are two of my favorite genres (or topics I suppose), and here they were in a book. I couldn't have asked for anything more, though I do have to admit, I probably would have loved this so much more if I was younger. But nevertheless, it was still a wonderful, solid read. And it made me tear up in the end because of course it's related to WWII. Why would it not.

I hadn't read anything else by Leila Sales before this, so I didn't have any expectations. Once Was A Time first introduces us to Charlotte, living in London during WWII. Her father is working on research in time travel, and Charlotte and her best friend Kitty are huge fans of him. Until they're both kidnapped as leverage to get her father to spill the secrets of time travel. But instead, Charlotte finds a portal, jumps through, and leaves both her father and Kitty behind. She ends up in 2013, where everyone she knows may be dead.

There were a lot of things I really liked, other than it being about both WWII and time travel. For one, it was realistic how Charlotte acted in her new surroundings, or I guess it was realistic to me haha. She had to hide out in a library before the librarian turned her over to child services. Plus she had to get used to all the new technology, while trying to hide the fact that she didn't know what they were at all. Though the story overall was enjoyable, I felt that the pacing was very uneven. Charlotte starts off younger than 10 years old (I think?) at the beginning of the book, but then we fast forward to when she's older in no time. Plus, I felt that something was missing from the novel. Maybe it's because I'm not the target audience, but there just wasn't anything that made this book pop out.

Other than that though, it was a great read. I did finish it in a day! (Though you will see this means nothing, as we move on to the next review.)

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Zenith by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings
Part 1
Publisher: Mirabel Inc.
Release Date: June 21st, 2016
Source: Kindle
Date Read: 6/30/16
63 pages
Rating: 

There is darkness sweeping across the stars.

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness: a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her fearsome glass starship the Maurader, she’s just Andi, their captain and protector.

When a routine mission goes awry, the all-girl crew’s resilience is tested as they find themselves in a most unfamiliar place: at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter connected to Andi’s past and a harrowing betrayal.

Meanwhile, on the far side of the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The final pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their ship—or just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles towards the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only thing certain is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository

Er. Okay, so I am a huge Mass Effect fan, and I read this hoping that it would be somewhat similar to my favorite video game. I mean, I wasn't even asking for much. Really I only wanted aliens. Or non-human looking aliens.

I'm just glad that I didn't have to spend too long on this.

This was only 62 pages, and I don't think I will be continuing, so this review will be short. My first disappointment was that the aliens were never really described. All I got was where they were from, and a bunch of other names I don't remember. Lira is described as having pigmented blue skin and a hairless body. Gilly and Andi I assume are human, or human looking? And Breck is a giantess, so a giant human looking alien? And I pretty much have to assume everyone else also looks human, which is sad because where is the creativity?

My second disappointment, was how this is basically Throne of Glass. IN SPACE. (Or as Shannon would say it Throne of Space Plexiglass). You have our main character, Andi, running from the government for being a space pirate (her nickname being the Bloody Baroness). Then, her and her crew are captured for being pirates, but then are offered a job to find the governor's missing son. And of course, Andi's ex-boyfriend is the one who captured them, and will also be joining them on the job. Let's not forget that Andi is beautiful and gorgeous, so I'm sure this guy still loves her.

So there's that. I'm giving 1 star for it being in space, and another star for the fact that 1 page equaled 1 percent of the book on my kindle.

Note (Because I first posted on GR and who knows what can happen there): I picked up this book because I saw it through Twitter and someone pitched it as similar to Mass Effect. I bought it because it was really cheap, without knowing that it was part of a serial. I have never watched any of Sasha's videos, and I didn't know who she was until I read this.