Tag Archives: Dystopia

Book Review: Dealing in Dreams by Lilliam Rivera

Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published March 5th 2019
336 Pages

Nalah leads the fiercest all-girl crew in Mega City. That roles brings with it violent throw downs and access to the hottest boydega clubs, but the sixteen-year-old grows weary of the life. Her dream is to get off the streets and make a home in the exclusive Mega Towers, in which only a chosen few get to live.

To make it to the Mega towers, Nalah must prove her loyalty to the city’s benevolent founder and cross the border in a search for a mysterious gang the Ashé Ryders. Led by a reluctant guide, Nalah battles other crews and her own doubts, but the closer she gets to her goal, the more she loses sight of everything—and everyone— she cares about.

Nalah must do the unspeakable to get what she wants—a place to call home. But is a home just where you live? Or who you choose to protect?– Goodreads

I needed a day to think on this book. My overall conclusion is that it is a solid read but it has a very big issue.

Nalah is an interesting character because she takes her role as Chief Rocka seriously; as she should. Her gang Las Mal Criadas (LMC) is one of the toughest gangs in Mega City. Its her life and fighting is everything she has always known.

However, because the Mega Towers is where she and her crew want to be, Chief Rocka takes deal with from the founder to get there. Here is where things get interesting. Rivera sets you up for the fight and a possible betrayal of the lifetime. Chief Rocka isn’t as bright as she makes it seems. She is driven by anger and the constant need to fight. Yes, she can talk down the worst of them but she can’t seem to get things right exactly.

From beginning to about the last 4 chapters of the book, I am sucked into this world. All girl gang group and men for the most part out of the picture (except for at boydegas for the most part). This book is dystopia through and through. However, from the beginning you can see clearing that something is off. Rivera doesn’t get into too much detail about the wrong but focuses on Chief Rocka and LMC. It is as if the mess around them are background information that drive the girls but doesn’t exactly define them, at least at this point in their lives.

There was an expectation that the “battle” or at least the wake up moment was going to be huge but it was disappointing to say the least. Nothing changed and when the change happened, it was so smooth it was as if they were just taking a casual stroll.

I hated the ending. I hated how easy things became for Chief Rocka and how things just flowed. All of that build up, all that anger just to be let go as if nothing happened. The book just ended with nothing. I had to re-read the last few pages to make sure I was not bugging but nope I was not.

I wanted something so much more for LMC and Chief Rocka. I was highly disappointed with how things went.

Overall, worth the read but not exactly worth it emotionally. Characters were great, the build up, the world building was both on point. But the climax needed work as well as the ending.

3 Pickles

#UltimateBlogTour Day 9: After the Green Withered by Kristin Ward

Self Published

They tell me the country looked different back then. 
They talk of open borders and flowing rivers. 
They say the world was green. 
But drought swept across the globe and the United States of the past disappeared under a burning sky. 

Enora Byrnes lives in the aftermath, a barren world where water has become the global currency. In a life dominated by duty to family and community, Enora is offered a role within an entity that controls everything from water credits to borders. But it becomes clear that not all is as it seems. From the wasted confines of her small town to the bowels of a hidden city, Enora will uncover buried secrets that hide an unthinkable reality. 

As truth reveals the brutal face of what she has become, she must ask herself: how far will she go to retain her humanity?- Goodreads

Before jumping into the review, you all have to understand that After the Green Withered won the 2018 Best Indie Award in Young Adult Fiction! So congratulations, Ms. Ward!

Enora Byrnes isn’t exactly having the time of her life. Her parents, who no longer feel or act whole, follow a system called “company.” You know its one of those we are here to help you because the world you once knew ended but Enora doesn’t agree with this lifestyle, which creates a divide between her and her parents. I know that this sounds typical; something that has been done before, however, this book has a completely different feel.

I chalk this up to writing style and a form of familiarity.

With all dystopia books, there are references to technology and modern world. I liked that. I like feeling a connection with a book beyond the characters and that is what the book gives. Despite literally the world being nothing like we know now, there is a connection to what is happening now i.e. the constant invasion of privacy, the constant looking over your shoulder because you don’t know who to trust because someone can turn in on you. It sounds weird but I like that the author was able to add this specific feeling into her novel.

However, the book was slow. There is a lot of building, which is fine but when things reached the peak, I did not feel the YES! I was waiting for. It just felt like “well alright. At least we are getting somewhere.” Do I think the author did a good job developing the story, setting and characters? Yes, it just happened to be a bit slower than I expected and wanted.

In regards to characters. . . Enora was alright. There is a lot of growth with her and I am actually looking forward to see how she grows in the next book. The ending made it very clear things weren’t done and I am cool with that. The cliffhanger didn’t exactly make me upset that there was a cliffhanger but I was more like thinking if I want to read another book. And the answer is yes, yes I would.


3 Pickles

When you get the chance, check out the other posts on this ultimate blog tour!

A Tale of Two Pages
Out of This World SFF Reviews
Hiding Behind Books
Never Enough Books
Looking Glass Reads
Cats Luv Coffee
The Artsy Reader
Bookmarks and Stages


Book Review: Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine

NAL Published July 7, 2015 352 Pages
Published July 7, 2015
352 Pages

Jess Brightwell is a thief and by his father’s command he obtains illegal books to be sold on the black market. But according to his father, Jess can be used in better places, so he is sent to be a spy at the Great Library of Alexandria.

Jess’s loyality is tested between his family and the people he is beginning to care about. When his friend is charged with heresy, Jess quickly learns that the ones in control of the library will do anything to protect the books, even if it cost a human life.

Short Review**

This was a hard read and not because the gut of the story wasn’t good. The book was slow . . . to be blunt boring. But what really put the nail in the coffin was Jess. He didn’t have much personality nor life; not even the part of him being a thief made him more exciting.

The book was dry, which was surprising because books being illegal and people dying over it isn’t a bad theme to go with.  I expected some fight, passion, some intensity and even when things began to pick up, I didn’t believe it.

There wasn’t enough suspense nor mistrust in this novel and considering that Jess is lying to everyone around him, I would think he would always be on his guard. He fits in extremely easy and doesn’t feel too uncomfortable with himself even when he begins completing his family’s wishes.

What I liked about the book was the history; it was rich and there was care to be informative and believable. I have such a huge crush on the Library of Alexandria and at the same time I feel anger for the people that destroyed all of that knowledge. It hurts . . . it really does. I believe that Caine really did a great job infusing the history into the story but the characters, story-line didn’t match.

Caine isn’t a bad author; The Morganville Vampires series for the first few books wasn’t bad, which is exactly why I requested this book from Netgalley. Despite my issues with this book, I would like to read the second one because I am hoping Jess will become a better character.

Overall, I give this book a low rating but not without potential.

1 Pickle.

Book Review: Blood, Ink & Fire by Ashley Mansour

Upturn Publishing Published Dec. 1, 2015 464 Pages
Upturn Publishing
Published Dec. 1, 2015
464 Pages

The future is no place for books. The once beloved written word is replaced by a stream of images known as Verity, which is controlled by the Fell for the protection of mankind. Readers i.e. being able to read is forbidden.

Noelle sees words and needs to know what they mean. Since she was a child it has been her obsession and her secret. But the day before her 17th birthday, Verity is interrupted with a hidden message for Noelle.  A message that leads her to readers known as the Nine of the Rising and to a boy named Ledger. 

Noelle discovers that in a world without books, she may be the only hope to bring them back.

Drop dead gorgeous cover. It is perfect and I hope that the author, the publisher, whoever does not ever change it.

I loved the concept of this story. A world without books; a world where reading is illegal *nods head in approval* This was a pretty good idea. But it was poorly executed. The main issue lies with Noelle. She is a very dull character, which in the beginning of the book is perfectly fine. It is because she is in a controlled environment that limits life, for a lack of better term.

It is after she leaves that controlled environment. I expected to see some kind of color, life from Noelle because she really trying to come into her own but even at the end it was just like “oh, alright,” I didn’t get a really fulfillment from her. This applies to the surrounding characters as well. It felt as if they all were being controlled by something such as the Fell, who are big brother but with much more technology and science.

Another thing about Noelle, that I didn’t really enjoy, was her viewpoint on the world or at least what was going on around her. She didn’t really try to figure things out. I didn’t mind her bluntness or her questioning things; what I did mind was how she expected things to go certain ways and then would be there like “well dang” when it didn’t work out.

Beyond that, I did like the pace of the novel. I felt the author really took care of this aspect very well. But there was a lack of passion in the words that we are supposed to be so desperate for. That was the hardest thing about this book. The emotion wasn’t really there; everything was very dull and it broke my heart.

The romance was a bit forced. I enjoyed the beginning of it. . . without giving much away I like what the author did without causing a love triangle in the traditional sense, I guess. The creativity was there, throughout the entire book,  but it was coming up short.

Overall, I am going to have to give the book

2 Pickles

Book Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Ecco Published May 13, 2014 262 Pages
Published May 13, 2014
262 Pages

The news is constantly showing outrageous reports but when the news begins to constantly repeat the same reports, life gets to real when the unthinkable happens right outside the house door. 

People are no longer opening their eyes to look outside. The only thing anyone can do is stay inside. Malorie raises two children the best that she can in this condition but enough is enough.

In order to live, in order to survive Malorie must leave the house and follow blindly to something that may not even no longer exist.

This was a really hard read. But that is not to say it didn’t have some good points.

Josh Malerman is like the master of suspense because that is all this book is. I kept reading because I was hoping we would find out what was going on. I kept reading to find a huge climax that changes the world. The author wrote the story as if all these things was going to happen but nothing did.

It was  a huge tease but the author wrote it so well I had no choice but to finish the book to try to get the satisfaction that I was looking for. This never came. I am still sitting here wondering what the heck was going on this book because you just don’t know. The vagueness of this book kills the beautiful writing in this book.

The author did an amazing job creating a story that centralizes a crisis that involves everyone becoming blind. It was really creative but it lacked so much more. This is end of the world and nothing was exciting, moving or scary for the most part. This book reminded me of a M. Night Shyamalan movie.

2 Pickles

Book Review: Stitching Snow by R. C. Lewis

Disney-Hyperion Published Oct. 14, 2014 338 Pages
Published Oct. 14, 2014
338 Pages

With her home planet filled with corruption and violence, Princess Snow has gone missing and King Matthias and his wife will do nothing to find the ones that took her. 

Essie is use to being cold and living on the planet Thanda you either get use to it or you leave. She spends her days repairing seven drones that help the miners in the mine. 

When a mysterious boy named Dane crash lands near her home, in order to avoid attention, Essie decides to help fix his ship. Quickly Essie realizes that Dane’s accidental crash is nothing accidental and Essie is forced into something she has been avoiding all these years. 

Essie must come to terms about her past and her future.

I was extremely surprised when I began this book. I am not big on dystopia nor science fiction but this was a retelling so I had to give it a try.

Essie is an amazing character. She knows how to defend herself and kick full blown ass. She knows all this stuff about electronics and repairs. She also has common sense and she is book smart.  She has no experience with men/boys and that is okay because she has a lot of emotional baggage that she doesn’t want to involve someone in.

I also liked Dane. He was blunt when it called for it. He had a double motive but it was for an extremely good reason. I also loved the fact that he knew what he wanted. It wasn’t a back and forth game between Dane and Essie.

But my favorite part of this entire book the subtle reference to the original fairy tale “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” It is there without the constant reminder that this is a retelling. This story is completely original and if you didn’t know about the original fairy tale you wouldn’t even think of it.

I loved the ending; how you got the happily ever after but in the most realistic sense possible.

Overall, a wonderful, surprising, detailed, creative read.

5 Pickles.


Book Review: For the Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

           Balzer + Bray   Published June 12, 2012              420 Pages
Balzer + Bray
Published June 12, 2012
420 Pages

It’s been years since a genetic experiment went wrong and caused the Reduction and the rise to the Luddite; people who banished most if not all technology.

Elliot North is a Luddite; Four years before she decided not to runway with her childhood love, a servant Kai and since then things have changed.  Choosing to run the family estate, Elliot is forced to allow a group of shipbuilders to rent the land and on that ship is Kai.

While Kai is determined to show Elliot what she lost, Elliot believes this is a second chance at love. But Kai and Elliot both hold secrets they are determined not to share.

Firstly, the book is formatted in two ways; letters from the past between Kai and Elliot and basic novel format. This did add character to the story because you read first hand the relationship between Kai and Elliot. You see the innocence and the growth and in any romance novel that is appreciated.

I was bored. The story, although kept me interested, didn’t keep me fidgeting in my seat. The relationship (because that is a pretty big focus) goes back and forth. It was horrible at one point and I wasn’t sure I could bear HOWEVER, Elliot has a lot of family issues as well as the Kai’s shipmates, so that kept the story going pretty well.

I didn’t like Elliot too much. The author tried to make her plain with a large heart . . . different from the other Luddites. It was a great effort but Elliot seemed too perfect and her biggest flaw was being a Luddite.

Overall I did really enjoy this book and was surprised that book two has nothing to do with book one. Hmm don’t know what that is about. This book gets 8 out of 10.


Love, Pickles

Book Review: Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead

This book has to begin in like year 3045.

          Dutton Adult   Published June 4, 2013             448 Pages
Dutton Adult
Published June 4, 2013
448 Pages

Justin March has been living in exile after not completing his job as an investigator of religious groups. His job is “important” because the world has been pretty much destroyed due to religious extremists. But anyway, March is able to come back home when Mae Koskinen, a military elite, brings him back to the Republic of United North America.

Mae’s job is to protect March as he investigates ritualistic murders. But her job becomes a bit more complicated when feels become involved.

This was a decent read; different, slow but a bit unexpected.

Firstly, I didn’t appreciate the relationship between March and Mae. Things moved too fast and considering how Mae was called cold within the first 6 pages of the book, I felt her opening even for that moment was fake. I understand what the author was trying to do; surprise the readers with a “big” twist but it seemed pointless especially as the book dragged along.

However, I did like March as a character. Although it was noted that

he was an attractive man you really couldn’t see that through the book. He was annoying in a charming sort of way which made me believe his character. Mae just didn’t fit. Her willingness to be with or attracted to March was too easy for a military elite and also she had just lost someone she really cared about.

I liked the story and where the author was going with it despite character flaw. Yes, it was a slow read and but I didn’t mind the science fiction aspect of the book because it wasn’t over done.

I have never read Mead’s Vampire Academy series which I heard as amazing. With that being said as my first book by this author I didn’t think it was too bad. Should have been more action at the same time the homework was being done. Will I read book two? Probably not. Overall this book gets 7 out of 10.

Love, Pickles