Gemina

29236299Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

The Illuminae Files #2

5 Stars

“Patience and Silence had one beautiful daughter. And her name was Vengeance.”

THIS BOOK WAS PERFECTION!!

}==>>=>

[       {

\___  \,-‘//              `–

@_/ ~ |  |, – – – – – *\   \ \_

*******@_}     >|  |++++++++(  |    )~[ |||>

@_\_~|  |` – – – – – *    / /

/       /` – . \\_____,–‘==(-CAPSCAPSCAPSCAPSCAPS

[       {

}==>>=>

Gemina continues the epic story that Illuminae started. From Jump Station Heimdall we meet a whole new crew of ass-kicking and hacking characters to continue the prosecution against BeiTech.

The Story– I didn’t quite believe people when they told me Gemina was better than Illuminae. But OH. MY. GOSH. It truly was so much better. It did NOT suffer from that second book syndrome we know as “this sucks”. I don’t even need to say much about how awesome the story is, if you loved the first one, you will most definitely love this one, if not even more like I did (and obviously so many other people). I don’t know how the story was able to come up a notch, but it did and I cannot wait to see what happens in the next one!

The World Building– How do you expand the world on a space ship? Kaufman and Kristoff have introduced some elements that, frankly, scared the shit out of me. I’m not going to say what said element was, but let’s just say that my (irrational) fear of air vents has been rekindled. Yes. Freaking. Air. Vents.

Even though we the story is in a futuristic multiuniverse there are still some familiar attributes to be found in this book. Annoying double entendre pop songs that are way over played, culture (such as Russian), drug dealers, instant messaging. It’s all stuff that isn’t too crazy sci fi for the average person to get behind. So even if you aren’t really into sci fi, you can still enjoy the non stop action this book provides.

The Characters-Kady & Grant << Hanna & Nik << AIDEN.

I know, right? Yay for more Kady, Grant, & AIDEN!!! I am so glad that they did have a come back, at first I was slightly worried since we were on a completely different location in space.

Hanna-Such a bad ass! I love that even though she was all prim & proper spoiled could still live a little. She had a journal to draw out her feelings. Her dad had her in combat training. And above all else, she still had a little sense of adventure or a spark for the wild side. Despite all that, she still had her moments where she was a broken girl, and it was such a relief to see a hero still be able to feel despair, failure, and anger.

Nik-Can I have one please? I love that Nik is not who you expect him to be. His character has such excellent development from what Hanna’s preconceived opinion of him. There’s never a moment where I wasn’t cheering him on. I always have been a rooter for the underdog. & I am love a story with the most unlikely companions.

scrill sig

 

Advertisements

Song of the Current

Song of the Current (Song of the Current #1)Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser

3 stars

In an attempt to keep her dad out of jail, Caro a wherry(wo)man, must transport a crate and deliver it to Valonikos. Unfortunately, it isn’t just any crate, and there are pirates searching the rivers for it. Caro must rely on her friends and her own skill to complete her task – all the while hoping the god of the river will finally call out to her like all the other good wherryman have been called.

The Story-I love me a pirate story. This is my second one this year, and while it wasn’t as good, it was still mostly enjoyable. I loved that instead of your typical high seas type of pirates, we had wherrymen – which are essentially on river barges. Unfortunately for me, there were a few elements that were sort of lacking. The only other thing I thought was odd about this story was that if there was this boat chasing after them on water…why didn’t they just travel by land? I am sure there could be a million reasons why…but not one was mentioned…like going by wherry boat was the only way to their destination.

The World Building-Even though a majority of this book is spent on a boat, there was a little bit extra going on. Since the story was mostly set on the waters of a river, there were marshes and other boats for the story to take place in. I loved the culture of the river that was different from people of the sea/ocean. There was definitely a lot of boat jargon that I had to keep up with, some went a little over my head, but a little knowledge and imagination goes a long way when it comes to inferring what the heck the people were doing on their boats.

There were some magical elements that was included in the book that wasn’t really explained – shadowmen, frogmen & gods that speak to whatever you were called to….but not everyone can speak to the gods (of the sea, river, mountain etc). It didn’t feel forced on the story, but I wish a little bit of the culture surrounding it all was better explained – alas, that’s what second books are for! I hope that not only do they explain these elements a little further, but also introduce more. More drakons please. Let’s face it, I am a sucker for dragons, put one in the water, still just as cool to me.

The Characters-Sometimes when I am reading a book I feel really connected with the characters. I felt that this book wasn’t one of those books. Maybe it’s just me. The characters themselves were still fun. Caro was a little feisty girl – both headstrong and loyal. She’s happy with her life and doesn’t want anything besides making her father happy and finally hearing the river god call her. She really doesn’t take any crap from anyone.

scrill sig

The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

5 Stars

Much to my friend’s amazement, I knew pretty much nothing about the Percy Jackson series before starting this book. I think I enjoyed it a lot more because I didn’t really know any of the little factoids that a lot of other people know, heck, I hardly even knew the synopsis before opening the book. I knew that my 11 year old nephew was reading the series, and that I wanted to read it with him. I really wish that I was his age reading the book for the first time. The thing about Percy Jackson that would probably make it so appealing to as young as a 5th grader is that they probably have a lot of recent education on Greek mythology in school. At least, I think I learned about that stuff around the 4th or 5th grade, to be honest it was so long ago it mostly mashes together. Regardless, it should be taking a lot of information that they would be familiar with.

TLT tells the story about Percy Jackson a modern day kid who finds out that his dad is Poseidon (HA! I didn’t even know this going into the book, but apparently it’s in the synopsis so I don’t count this as a spoiler). There is trouble with the Greek gods as someone seems to have stolen Zeus’ thunder lightning bolt. Someone, Percy to be precise, must find the lightning bolt before the wrath of the gods starts WWIII.

The Story-Obviously, kids like to have stories where ordinary people find out they are destined for greater things. When we are young we like to let our imaginations get away with us (heck, I still do). TLT delivers what is familiar and makes it into something exciting. Throughout the book, I am reminded of familiar mythology as it is reincorporated into Percy’s quest.
The writing style in the book is so easy and flows well enough that any young reader will enjoy the book because it reads like someone telling a story. A story full of twists and turns and never a dull moment.

The World Building– There isn’t a lot of new world building as this is set in a modern day setting. However, Riordan does a spectacular job of modernizing the Greek gods into Western civilization.

The Characters-Percy really is such a lucky boy. I mean, yeah, his life leading up to his quest was pretty awful, however, he should pretty much be dead. There were so many opportunities where he could have easily died, the end. It really was right place & right time plus a little dash of help form his friends (and dad).

 jane levy GIF
I’m not going to go too in depth into all the people and friends Percy meets. But I will say that I love how the gods are depicted in this story. They are supposed to be this revered being, but they’re just a bunch of selfish, snotty brats. It’s funny how entitled they are because of their power.

scrill sig

Ready Player One

9969571Ready Player One by Erenst Cline

5 Stars

Set in the future where the world has essentially gone to crap, people spend most of their time in a virtual reality world called Oasis – chock full of pretty much every form of entertainment, ways to spend money, educate, work, and essentially live (minus actual eating & drinking for sustenance) . When the creator of Oasis dies without an heir, his will, in a form of a YouTube video, announces that he has placed three Easter Eggs (hidden keys) and that the first player to complete all three will inherit his shares of the company and his fortune. Five years later, no one has even found the first Egg, and only avid gunters (egg hunters) like our hero Wade are still searching.

 

Ready Player One is the biggest nerdgasm I have ever experienced! 

 

 

 

The Story-There was a time in my life where I spent a lot of time playing video games. As a kid I grew up on Gameboys, Playstations, computer games, and X-box. As someone born in the 80’s I consider myself a secondary 80’s kid, as a lot of the stuff that came out then was still prominently popular in the 90’s, or at least re-done. As kids do these days with 90’s reincarnation, thus my age group did to the 80’s. So when I say that this book was totally relatable, I mean. This. Book. Was. Totally. Relatable. At least, to me that is. Now, if you don’t know a thing about video games, 80’s movies/music or a variety of other “geeky” things such as any major sci-fi movie/tv series (Star Trek/Wars, Firefly, etc) or Japanese hero shows/anime, then you definitely would not really know 99% of the references stated in this book. With that being said, I still think this book might be enjoyable to you, except you might have to google a music video or even take a break to watch a movie here and there. Which, they are “classics” for a reason, so educate yourself.

The World Building-Thankfully there is a pretense as to why we spend almost an entire book in a digital world manifested of…made up worlds. Cline gives us a futuristic scenario that is pretty plausible and slightly daunting. The true magic is how he ties in all the different “geeky” aspects. Even though we have key elements from multiple eras in gaming to different countries, we have a world that literally has multiple worlds incorporated into it. Even though most of the elements are borrowed, I still feel like my mind was brought into a whole new experience that cohesively brought all these wonderful elements together. The real kicker is how to make it more than just a game and more than just a nod to cult classics.

The Characters-Aside from the epic amount of references throughout the book that is like reminiscence bound into a book, the characters and their interactions are what really drive the story. The crazy thing about this is that since most of the book takes place in a game, we don’t really know who Wade meets. Wade is our classic underdog, but the sidekicks of the story are really strangers. Just people that he has spent a third of his life interacting in non-real-life scenarios. But because Oasis is basically what Wade’s life revolves around, these other players/gunters are really his best friends and vice versa. Their relationships are tested throughout the book as the game progresses as they all want to win, and they all want to have the upper hand. The real kicker to the characters and where the book plays you is that you don’t really know who these people are. As Wade continuously points out, his friend could be a hot enigmatic teenage girl, or she can be some middle aged fat man named Chuck.

Despite the character interactions being within a game, they are hardly plain 2D characters. They have depth. They each challenge and help Wade in their own ways. And most importantly they each bring their own flavor and personality to the book.

Side Notes-I knew there was a little lot of hype to the book due to the fact that they are making a movie of it. About halfway through, I caved and decided to watch the trailer. Now while the beginning of the trailer gives you a little idea about the book, the second half is wildly misleading. Let me just point out, that (and this isn’t really a spoiler) there are no races depicted in the novel. I mean, I am sure that it is expected that there are worlds within Oasis that have some racing, BUT, let me just say that if you’re expecting some epic race scene in the book….don’t. It has nothing to do with the book.

The other thing about the movie that I am curious about is if there will be any licensing issues with the film adaptation. I don’t know what the rules are for writing/filming with all these major references in them, so I am curious to see how certain elements will be shown in the book, and if some would be completely omitted due to some sort of copyright issues.

 nerd anna kendrick pitch perfect love you awesome nerds GIF

scrill sig

Odd Thomas

Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz

3 stars

I read a Dean Koontz book back in high school called Intensity. I remember it being so scary suspense that I couldn’t put it down and finished in a few hours. It was scary and in a good way that puts the fear of Jesus in you. I think I checked the locks and doors in our house for weeks afterwards.

It’s been a decade (or so) since then and now horror books and movies don’t appeal to me as much. So when a friend raved about this series I was a little hesitant. But I’m glad I picked this up. Guys, it’s actually not that scary! I’d say it’s more The Sixth Sense level than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In fact, that’s the premise behind this whole story.

The Story:

Odd Thomas is a fry cook for a diner, he’s a little strange and known for being the town wierdo. He sees dead people.

And he uses this paranormal gift to prevent crime or to solve them. In this first novel, Odd comes across a stranger, gets serious bad vibes and tries to save his podunk California desert town from apocalyptic danger with the help of his girlfriend Stormy and the town sheriff.

The Characters:

Odd- I really like him. He has some baggage, which you learn of in length as Koontz does a lot of character building, but seems like a really nice guy who just wants to marry his sweetheart and to stay out of the spotlight. Which is odd (is it a pun when it’s his name?) for a 19 yo guy. How many guys want to settle down at that age? He does seem a bit reckless at times too, however, it seems like all characters in horror books/movies do things that have you shouting, “NO, don’t go in there!”

Stormy- She’s beautiful, alluring, and eclectic. Perfect sidekick to a crime preventing, dead-people-seeing humble hero.

Wrap-up:

I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars. It was a little slow and the whole time I kept thinking it was a rip off of The Sixth Sense. But I’m going to read the next one and see if it gets better. I’ll keep you guys posted.

Hannah sig

The Rules of Persuasion

The Rules of PersuasionThe Rules of Persuasion by Amity Hope

1 star

ARC received from Netgalley for a fair review.

The Story-The Rules of Persuasion was 95% predictable, but 100% full of angsty cuteness. Honestly, if you have read any YA contemporary where a boy or girl get’s someone to be their fake boyfriend or girlfriend then you have read this book. The only the thing that is different is the circumstances surrounding the initiation of fake relationship. This review may contain what is considered spoilers, but honestly I think everything I write in here should be entirely expected….so I’m not going to mark it all spoiler. Let’s review this trope recipe:

-someone needs a favor/blackmails
-they actually run in different circles/don’t like each other
-they write down all the rules
-the rules doesn’t stop them for getting a dose of the feels
-shit is going to hit the fan right

Well, you get the idea….

The Characters
Meg-Somehow this girl was supposed to be a girl that wasn’t like other girls. But let’s face it, she was just your average girl, minus her family issues, not some crazy special snowflake. The downside is, that she is sort of a forgettable character. I just finished hours of reading about her and this is what I know:
-she likes to wear high heeled boots that click clack, preferably in black.
-she has two friends, but she only really hangs out with them in school…except to get ready for a date..
-she’s not really into anything in particular…….like really, what are her interests? Sure she watches black and white movies…on rainy days…she likes the beach because of her sister…she graffiti’s because of her sister…in fact she wears black because of her sister… She wants to be a counselor, why? Because she got good counseling…after what happened to her sister. Don’t get me wrong, that’s great and all. But who is this chick? I don’t know, I hardly remember her.

Luke-What can I really say? This is a contemporary YA novel. Let’s hit every cliché thing that accurately describes Luke:
-he’s rich, but wants nothing to do with his family
-he’s good looking
-he’s good at sports too
-he’s also smart – party because he has to study hard for his family
-he has an ex gf who’s a heinous bitch.
-You know what else? He’s got dimples & smirks a lot. That’s right. He was smirking within 2% of the book. I almost decided to keep count of all the times his smirkiness was mentioned….but it got old really fast. Let’s be completely real, if someone smirked at you that much you would be sort of weirded out right?

The Connection-Despite the book being cute, it wasn’t entirely relatable. I understand the need for these kids to act out in their own way but there were a few things that just plain bothered me. The biggest part was how the rich kid was somehow supposed to feel bad for being rich. Like I’m sorry that you had to move from a house where you had a walk in closet at one point. Also, not everyone has parents that allow them to commandeer their old motorcycles… there is something that really irks me when a character bashes another one about being rich, like somehow that makes them a bad person. You know what that makes them? Rich. It shouldn’t be used as a way to make the poorer character seem like a better person.

I’m sorry for all the lists in this review. It was sort of unavoidable to do while pointing out everything. Now if you’ve never read a fake bf/gf book before, it could all be fresh for you and you might like it. Unfortunately, this book didn’t have enough spin to it to make me actually like it that much.

scrill sig

Strange the Dreamer

28449207Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

2 stars

“And anyway, she asked herself, what real risk was there? It’s just a dream, she answered, though of course it was so much more.” 

Strange the Dreamer is the story of Lazlo Strange, a decided dreamer. What does he dream of? The mythical lost city of Weep. Despite the lack of interest in Weep that his colleagues has, Lazlo is assiduous in his studies and finds himself an opportunity of sorts to travel to the city, literally, of his dreams. He along with a band of variety of specialists find themselves on a expedition to find out what happened to the city 200 years prior when it lost communication with the rest of the world, and most importantly what has been haunting the city since. Through the journey Lazlo experiences more life than he had ever read of in his books.

The Story-The one word I think of is oxymoron. This book was so enchanting but at the same time sluggish and boring. There was beautiful prose and imagery, but it only amplified the buildup of the story. While I am happy I didn’t DNF the book, I doubt I will be picking up the next installment, unless I don’t have anything better to read. The part that really made me just so mad in this book was didn’t even happen until 70% At that point, I had to decide if I was too far invested to give up, which clearly I didn’t.

All I can say is, the ending only just barely makes up for that curve ball. If you can suffer the few chapters there is quite an exciting finish, that may or may not be expected. Thinking back on it, it really is the only way to end the story (minus my complaint that will come later in the spoiler at the end of this review).

The World Building– What makes this underdog story unique is the pitch that Laini Taylor gives it in. Here we have this whimsical city that would make a 5 year old Lazlo gallivant in an orchard pretending to be warrior from, risking a beating from the monks that took him in. The world that Lazlo comes from is drab in comparison to his dreams, and it is because he is a dreamer that we get the opportunity to have such a vivid world.

The Characters
Lazlo-Obviously he is what really drives this story. Without Lazlo’s idiosyncratic imagination, we would have nightmares. It’s his candor personality that makes him so lovable. The way he covets weep, shows respect to it, and does his best to understand it helps us empathize with the people of Weep when we discover what has been going on.

Sarai– It’s Sarai’s contriteness that diverts our predilection against the haunting of Weep. She is unintentionally ostracized from her companions due to how she was raised and what was expected of her.

Now there were definitely some characters that got some extra sections that were unnecessary, as well as some that should have received a little bit more love. I think it is largely due to the long winded world building and the curve ball chapters. But who knows, maybe the next installment in the series will focus in on their story, their struggles, and what their dreams may be…even if they are broken.

*****Spoiler time******
The insta-love was just a shock to my system. Here I was engrossed in this underdog story with a beautiful world building, and then BLAM! a chapter on two lonely characters learning to kiss. I don’t mean like a quick paragraph of *smooch smooch* that feels great!. I mean this part of the book was written just like the rest of the book was, achingly beautiful but long winded.

I totally understand that they were lonely, and they had this connection that is dreams and the beauty in it. But what the what?? Their love was rushed while everything else in the book took time. Now while I thought that it was necessary for the Goddess of Nightmares to have a connection with Strange the Dreamer, they could have had a bond of friendship, a true camaraderie, or heck even just a slow simmering romance.


*****End Spoiler*****

Don’t remember who wanted book playlists, but here, at least, is my theme song for this book The Dear Hunter – The Kiss of Life. I thought of this song as I was reading throughout the entire book, and I actually do find it quite fitting. Also, it’s from one of my favorite bands. ❤

scrill sig

What to Say Next

30199656What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

5 stars

“I realize we all walk around pretending we have some control over our fate, because to recognize the truth – that no matter what we do, the bottom will fall out when we least expect it – is just too unbearable to live with.”

My first thought after reading What to Say Next was this: Kasie West, move over. I think West has dominated as my favorite author for YA contemporary (partly because she pumps out books so quickly) However, Buxbaum is fast on her way to being my new favorite. Tell Me Three Things was already on my favorites this, and not this one gets to join its ranks. I will read anything by her now. If you are a fan of YA contemporaries, don’t wait too long to read this. It is sooooo goooood. Heartwarming and devastating at the same time.

WTSN is about Kit whose dad just died in a car accident, and in an attempt to avoid the pressure of acting normal again sits with the guy, David, who always sits alone. Expecting to be able to sit without expectations and without talking, Kit finds an unexpected friendship with David. David finds his world expanding exponentially as he comes to befriend Kit.

The Story-Guys this book was both heartwarming and devastating at the same time. At first, I thought this might fall into the ugly duckling trope… you know the one where one character helps the shy character break their mold, be popular, or just live up to all their hidden potential. Now while Kit eventually did break David out of his shell, she didn’t expect him to or want him to change. It was the experience of befriending Kit that helped David change. The change wasn’t to make more friends or be popular; it was to embrace himself as he was.

“Usually they end with me promising to try harder, though I never really know what I’m promising to try harder to do.
Be normal I think.
Be like the neurotypical, which is another way of saying “everyone else.”
Be less like me.
I no longer want to be less like me.”

Truly, the peculiar friendship that they build is what drives this story; the awkwardness and coping with the heavy matters as well as what can be the most trivial things to the “normal” kids.
What’s also great about this book as a YA contemporary about a boy and girl is that it is not largely driven by romance or hatred. Their friendship was brought to them by the death of Kit’s dad and a huge part of the book is how being friends with David acts that helps Kit get not necessarily over it, but through it, along with the other issues she has going on. It’s David’s awkward directness that helps her feel like she doesn’t have to pretend she’s okay.

The Characters– I love David Drucker. Of all the boys in any YA contemporary book, I think he is my favorite. It isn’t because he’s good looking, smart, or just generally a sweet guy (in his own way). It was his inner monologues. David takes everything literally.

Also, the way David approaches his problems are so logical, even though sometimes his logic isn’t how we understand it. It’s the moments when he doesn’t understand why things are happening the way they are that pushes him overboard, and that is probably the most devastating part because it’s in those moments when you realize the only person who can really help him is himself pushing outside of his normal understanding.

“…let her no shit pass without comment, even though she knows it’s an expression I do not like. It makes me think of constipation, which makes me think about grunting, my least favorite noise, after squawking and chewing. I also have a list of favorite noises. It has one item on it: Kit’s laugh.”

Kit’s a bit in over her head emotionally, and I feel sorry for her situation. What I loved about Kit was that she didn’t have any ulterior motives or negative feelings towards David to start. She is aware of how he has been treated in the past or how he’s reacted in stressful situations, never made it her mission to be any sort of bully towards him. With that being said, she still fell into the category of kids that ignore him, until that is he changes her view. In her way she helps David experience teenage life like he’s never had the opportunity to and he broadens her narrow way of looking at life.

The Connection-I feel like this book takes on the bullying aspect without it being the sole focus. It’s more of the reaction from David that we experience. In this situation it is a much highly irregular situation as it wasn’t just because he was poor, ugly, or just unpopular. It truly was his personality that triggers the way people treated him…not that it’s any excuse. The sad part is everyone knows that this kind of treatment happens and it’s incredibly heart breaking. It’s heart breaking for both people like David, for the kids that just don’t know any better, and for the kids who pretend it isn’t happening. I think that’s where the book really hits home, because let’s be real, its actually small amount of people who are the true bully, it’s the rest of us that stand by that make the vast majority and why people can relate to Kit, even if the rest of her circumstances aren’t the same.

scrill sig