Genre: Sci-Fi

Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: Minders by Michele Jaffe

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I received this book for free from Penguin Canada in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Minders by Michele JaffeMinders by Michele Jaffe
Published by Razorbill on January 30th 2014
Genres: Sci-Fi, YA
Source: Penguin Canada
Buy on Amazon

Q: If the boy you love commits a crime, would you turn him in?
Sadie Ames is a type-A teenager from the wealthy suburbs. She's been accepted to the prestigious Mind Corps Fellowship program, where she'll spend six weeks as an observer inside the head of Ford, a troubled boy with a passion for the crumbling architecture of the inner city. There's just one problem: Sadie's fallen in love with him.

Q: What if the crime is murder?
Ford Winters is haunted by the murder of his older brother, James. As Sadie falls deeper into his world, dazzled by the shimmering pinpricks of color that form images in his mind, she begins to think she knows him. Then Ford does something unthinkable.

Q: What if you saw it happen from inside his mind?
Back in her own body, Sadie is faced with the ultimate dilemma. With Ford's life in her hands, she must decide what is right and what is wrong. And how well she can really ever know someone, even someone she loves.

Minders is a futuristic story about a new science that allows a person to piggyback on someone else’s mind. During what’s called Syncopy, minders see what their host sees, read their thoughts, feel their pleasure and pain, however they can’t control anything, and their host don’t know they’re being watched.

I was quite surprised by the depth of this story. For the most part, it comes off as a contemporary novel inside a sci-fi bubble. We’re literally thrown inside Ford’s mind; someone hurt, broken, and deeply troubled by grief. It’s saddening to see his family crumbling from his brother’s murder. With a now useless mother, Ford is the one who has to raise his sister and put food on the table. He’s also starting to realize there’s more to his brother’s death than he thought. This gives us an intriguing mystery that ultimately ties everything together, with a few twists and turns along the way.

Being in someone’s head gives us a character angle like no other. Jaffe’s depiction of the mind itself is incredible and fascinating. Our subconscious, our thoughts and ways of compartmentalizing, our external vs internal selves; it’s impressively creative. It also allows us to learn a lot about Ford; we get to know his most honest, raw self. He has a gentle, sweet soul. He’s also very much a 19 year old boy when it comes to relationships and insecurities. I came to love his character even though he isn’t perfect by any means. I can’t say the same about Sadie’s, though. her character building left a lot to be desired. At one point she describes a past with uncaring parents in a way that seemed as if it was just to make her three-dimensional. I never felt the emotional depth of her character, nor did I feel connected to her overall. Fortunately, this is Ford’s story while she comes off as a side character, but unfortunately, it also makes the romance that blooms between them feel forced. Although it was very original, as far as romantic storylines go. Furthermore, there are some side character that I felt unnecessary to the story. Cali and Marcus, for instance, were like peons drifting in and out without aim or purpose.

Moving on to the plot itself. While it can be described as original and in many ways, compelling, I found myself underwhelmed, even confused at times, with the world building. Or I should say the lack thereof. We’re thrown into a world that is clearly not in our present, but we don’t know when, futuristically, it’s set, how the city fell apart to such a degree, how the world is doing. Nothing. All we’re told is of this city’s crumbling appearance, the Minders scientific advancement, and irrelevant eccentricities like streets named “Love Your Feet Road” and “H3O Purified Water-Style Beverage Way“. I mean, you can’t just mention those streets and not explain! As a result, this makes it just Ford’s story and nothing more. It doesn’t expand beyond the direct mysteries surrounding him and Mind Corps – probably to keep it a stand-alone (which is nice!). So it’s an entertaining plot, but kept fairly narrow. Much of the ending is also predictable, if a bit rushed, though luckily I found this book was more about the journey than its destination.

Minders brings us a neat sci-fi concept that delves into the heart of grief and guilt. I enjoyed many aspects of this book, but I felt as if the story was sometimes let loose to wander. I would recommend this to fans of Starters and The Host.


3 Hot Espressos

Review: Timestorm by Julie Cross

Review: Timestorm by Julie Cross

Posted by on 01/20/2014 • 21 Comments

*Spoiler free for the series*

While I enjoyed Tempest and Vortex, this one was explosive to a whole new level!

I can count on two hands the number of times I was entirely surprised by an ending. I usually catch on, at least to some extent, to what direction it’s going to spin (mostly because I think up SO many theories that one of them has to be close to being right), but Timestorm is a freaking masterpiece of an ending that caught me completely off guard. It also left me in a puddle of emotional goo. It’s tragic, beautiful, and perfect for this story, but still, there is a part of me that is so torn! I guess we’ll call it bittersweet. The ending was not the only great…

Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Posted by on 01/14/2014 • 30 Comments

Holy crap what a wild ride! In this 3rd novel of the Lunar Chronicles series, we meet Rapunzel Cress and embark on her unplanned journey to earth. This novel is easily my favorite in the series thus far – and funnily, Rapunzel is also my favorite fairytale princess! We are just meant to be!

We swing into action from the very beginning of this novel, during which we meet Cress and get to know the kind of life she lived inside this satellite for almost a decade. Like always, I love the references to the original fairy-tales this series is based on. After an explosive start, we engage on a survivalist-type story through a desert that is described with such realism you will feel parched and out of breath, Cress’s…

Review: Vitro by Jessica Khoury

Review: Vitro by Jessica Khoury

Posted by on 12/13/2013 • 17 Comments

Closer to a 3.5 star.

While I didn’t like this one quite as much as Origin, it was still an exciting read set on an isolated island full of secret experiments and shady operations. Even if you haven’t read Origin, this is not actually a sequel; both are independent of each other. You could even say Vitro is more or less a refitted version of Origin. They both have a similar setting and mirroring scientific conspiracies. And Sophie, after a distressing email from her mother, gets trapped into its web of genetic alterations and unethical experiments.

What I found to be the best part of this novel is the vividly detailed setting. You get fully transported to this island that quickly becomes the heart of the story, and…

Let’s Role-Play! A Guest Post by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Let’s Role-Play! A Guest Post by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Posted by on 11/20/2013 • 40 Comments

Have you read this book yet? If not you’re definitely missing out! You can find my full review here if you missed it but it’s a awesome read! I’m excited to have the wonderful ladies behind this great novel on the blog for a fun guest post on how they created these characters together! First, in case you live under a rock and missed what this book was all about:

Guest Post by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Let It Play Out: Role-playing scenes to establish characters

One of the challenges in any story is ensuring that every character her their own very definitive point of view. They need opinions, a backstory, goals and their own personal motivation to do whatever they’re going to do…

Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Posted by on 11/15/2013 • 33 Comments

Guys! This is not a story about a girl flying in space in a dress! That’s only in the first chapter. I swear!

Actually, most of this book is a survival story. After a crash land on an anonymous planet, Tarver and Lilac have to find a way to get along and stay alive amongst the wild animals and Lilac’s questionable state of mind. It’s not a fast paced read, but rather a slow trek on this mysterious planet full of whispers, visions, ghosts, and other bizarre happenings. This is what keeps it completely enthralling. You get that constant need to read just one more chapter to try and get some answers as to what exactly is happening in this weird place. Is Lilac going insane, or are the voices…

To Self Publish, Or Not To Self Publish – A Guest Post by Stella Telleria

To Self Publish, Or Not To Self Publish – A Guest Post by Stella Telleria

Posted by on 11/08/2013 • 50 Comments

I’ve got Stella Telleria on the blog today who recently self-published her book, Across the Wire, a paranormal universe novel with a dystopian undertone that looks great and sounds awesome. Let’s have a look at the book first, but then Stella is going to talk about her reason to self publish in a witty, hilarious guest post – oh and you can also enter to win a copy 😉

Guest Post by Stella Telleria

Why I Decided to Self Publish by Stella Telleria

Giselle, Thank you for hosting me on your blog. I’ve heard so much about you through another blogger I feel a sort of ease at being in your internet presence. Pfft! Who am I kidding? I’m so excited to be here I…

Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Review: Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Posted by on 11/05/2013 • 20 Comments

To be perfectly honest, by the time I read this book I had completely forgotten what it was about. I thought it was a book about the end of the world – and okay in a way it is, but very different from what I had envisioned. Nevertheless, it’s a solid story in a lot of ways, and with 400+ pages it could have become an intensely powerful, in-depth read, but instead it felt overcrowded at times with topics like rape, mental illness, and ex best-friend drama (as well as ex-boyfriend) that felt rather directionless. On the other hand, it does offer a slightly different perspective on alternate dimensions, or at least it worked on delivering it in a highly suspenseful way.

The main reason why I wasn’t able…