Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

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In a world where knowledge is controlled by the Great Library, and it is forbidden to own original books, Jess Brightwell is a book smuggler. His risky work entails stealing the rarest copies of books and delivering them to the highest bidder. If he’s caught, he will be killed. But, in a ploy for inside information, Jess’ father enrolls him in the Library’s school, where, if he survives, Jess will work for the very institution he steals from. Jess must pass the library’s test while somehow keeping his past hidden. If he fails, he will lose his family (and probably his life) forever.

This is definitely a good pick is you like Harry Potter. There’s a ton of action, plot twists, secrets, and an ending that will leave you ready for the next book. I especially liked how the author mixed a fanasy-esque world with sci-fi, all set in a time that might actually exist. It was so interesting to read how the Library took over the collection of knowledge with the best intentions, but then grew so power hungry that it began deciding which knowledge citizens could read. It’s a story that could lead to a great discussion and comparison to our own time. In all, though, this book has great characters, an interesting story, and is definitely for you if you’re looking for your next binge-read series.

*Lonestar, 2016

Rating: 4.5/5

Sweet by Emmy Laybourne

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Science has finally invented a substance, Solu, that, when consumed, will help people lose weight and keep it off. Naturally, Solu is much-anticipated by the general public, but will be available first only to the lucky passengers aboard the Solu cruise. While at sea, passengers will get to try Solu, and will hopefully leave the seven-day cruise wearing a smaller clothing size. Laurel, whose best friend, Viv, begged her to go on the trip, is skeptical of the sweetener, and believes she and Viv shouldn’t be obsessing about their weight. Tom, the “host” of the cruise is also more interested in staying fit than taking drugs for weight loss. As the cruise begins, passengers express their enthusiasm for Solu and its effects. But, as the days pass, it appears that Solu is not all that it seems to be. Laurel, Tom and the other passengers must fight to survive as the weight-loss cruise turns deadly.

Wow! This book was so much better than I thought it would be. I was expecting a mindless, cheap-thrill (and it was), but it was much more! The premise had me hooked — a sweetener that keeps people skinny? Then you release that sweetener during a cruise and (dun dun dun) bad things start to happen? I’m in. What I liked best was, besides the action and drama, there were some important issues buried in the book. What does it say about our society that we’re SO obsessed with body image we would do ANYTHING to be thin? Should people who make addictive substances (i.e. sugar), be held accountable for their actions? It’s a lot to think about, but don’t worry — there’s plenty of suspense and blood (so much blood) to keep things interesting.

*Lonestar book, 2016

Rating: 4/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.