Illuminae

23395680Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Audiobook Review

5_stars

 

 

 

 

“And while the irony holds some base appeal. There looms in my heart.
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The inescapable notion that has brought us all to this.
Protect. Prioritize.
Better I should kill them when I am done. Better I should kill them all.
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Am I not merciful?”

Okay I get it. I understand why this book won an Audie Award in 2016 for Multi-Voiced Performance. But it was more than just that. There were sound effects and just….spectacularness.

I have always believed that in order to get the full experience of the Illuminae Files you would have to read the physical book, see the physical pages. But I’ve changed my mind. In order to get a full experience of this book, you need to listen to the audiobook while reading it. I know, that’s a little excessive. But both versions have their own contribution to the story. The audiobook only increases my anticipation for the movie…that will come out when???

I am super excited to listen to the Gemina adaptation now. I obviously can’t wait until the Obsidio comes out, and will certainly re read the first two books again probably in February and March, because let’s be honest, I cannot get enough of these books. Let’s play desert island, yes, I would bring these books.

 

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Related Reviews:

01cb5-23395680Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Illuminae Files #1) *Book review

 

 

 

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Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Illuminae Files #2)

 

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The Dragons of Nova

31686500

The Dragons of Nova (Loom Saga #2) by Elise Kova

5_stars

“She had always seen tools of destruction as the way to gain control. Hope was a much more dangerous weapon.”

The story continues with Ari & Cvareh on their way to Nova to coerce with his family and Florence in the Alchemists guild working away towards a new rebellion against the dragons. The Dono is aware of a rebellion arising from Loom as well as the Xin House and is taking measures to hold is rule over it all.

The Story-You know, I really do read a lot of YA fantasy. So now that I am reading just a regular fantasy series, it really makes you appreciate how the story falls without something like romance or a singular person’s ideals. The fact that this book is told from both sides gives it a sort of a GoT-y. Mind you, I can’t really say that with authority because I have only read the first half of the first book….But I hope you can imagine the fact that we could all be rooting for Loom, but understand why Nova is operating the way it does. I just love how as the story goes a long, another layer is peeled back to show more adversity for our characters.

The World Building-In tDoN we get to spend a lot more time in Nova where the Dragons reside – and what a beautiful colorful world it is. I love that while Arianna spent time in Nova she was slowly introduced into the things that Dragons do not for practicality that she is used to, but for beauty, and just because it was nice. Like extra pillows & wind chimes. Further indicating how different the world on Loom is from Nova, function versus beauty.

“You build for beauty before function. You spend countless hours on adornments. You make noises with your mouth and tools, calling it song, moving to it and calling dance, but it serves no greater design.”

As the story progressed we got a further understanding of the functions of each guild on Loom. The way that Kova describes the world is poetic without being ostentatious, and it still offers us a super cool steampunk vibe.

It was as if the Harvesters had peeled back the surface of the earth to find its soul. And its soul was the very lifeblood of Loom: iron, minerals, oil, and coal.”

The Characters-

Arianna- Could this girl get any more cooler? Ari’s has this confidence that makes me want to think she is full of herself, but I just end up admiring her badass-ness.

“Far below, a pale blue woman stood with eyes like late sunset and hair the color of morning’s first light. She cut her place in the world with foolhardy arrogance, standing as though she were the personified herald of the Death Lord himself.”

Cvareh- I love Cvareh and his role in the story. He is what is connecting Loom to Nova as he battles between what Arianna wants from him and his duty as Ryu to the Xin House. The chemistry that he has with Arianna is sweltering and his need for her is almost tangible.

Florence-Flor’s development in this book was really strong. Without Arianna as a crutch, Flor really blossomed into a brave, independent girl with her own ideals and dreams.

“She had struggled for so long trying to find a place where she belonged that she had never stopped to see the innate benefits of belonging to nowhere. She could do things no one else could do. She could be things no one else could be.”

Petra- Petra is fierce.  ‘Ends before ideals‘. I love how Petra is unshakable in her hatred for house Rok and her expectation for every Xin dragon to sacrifice everything for House Xin.

I completely adore the covers for this series. The artist is Nicholas Grey, and more of his art can be found here.

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Related reviews:

The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga, #1)

The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga #1) by Elise Kova

 

 

There’s Someone Inside Your House

15797848There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

4_stars

“Students were urged to stay home, or if their parents would be at work, stay in the home of a trusted friend. It wasn’t safe to be alone.” 

Osborne High has a serial killer, as seemingly random students are viciously killed one right after the other. The police department is severely understaffed for the case, and everyone is speculating over who did it and who is next.

The Story-Guys this book was so perfect for me. I am a serious scardy cat so I can’t really do any real horror books. But I grew up with some of those major iconic high school slasher films from the late 90’s early 00’s: Scream, I know What You Did Last Summer, Final Destination, etc. If you expect this book to be like those movies…that is exactly what you’re going to get.

The BEST part of this book is that you get to read the killing from their perspective. I know that sounds really twisted, but hear me out. You know the moments when you’re watching one of these slasher films and you yell at the TV (pun intended) “There’s someone in your house!” or something of that variation and you think to myself, I would so not do that, or I would be out of there so fast. That is what makes this book fantastic. Each character has their own rationalization of why things are different than how they left it – thus falling them into the trap of the killer.

At about the half way point the story starts to drag just a little bit, but is livened up shortly after. Aside from the stress of the killings each kid has their own life going on, own worries, and of course their own hormones. It’s this recipe of teenage-ness meets serial killer that really gives that “classic” high school slasher movie vibe.

The Characters-I’m not going to specify anyone in particular here, because I honestly feel like it might give away a little bit of the story if I specify on any one student. But let me just say this, if I was ever attacked by a knife wielding psychopath I would hope that I had friends as awesome as the crew in this book.

Final Thoughts-There’s a reason why I don’t read scary books, and for the next few days my paranoid butt is going to increase the amount of times I check that the doors or windows are locked.

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Left Coast Visit 1.1

So I have been putting this post off for a while because I am just lazy. But it’s officially “sweater weather” season and despite it being my favorite time of the year I find myself pining for warmer weather. I know #firstworldproblem am I right? So I write this to you all from the comforts of my wood stove heated home, curled in fleece blankets with my dog, Trogdor, snoozing next to me.

This last Labor Day weekend I made the short trip (about 5ish hours) over to the left side of the state to visit some family. After living over there, I decided rather quickly that I pretty much hated it. Fortunately there are still a few gems about the Emerald City and surrounding area that I particularly like.

First, you should probably know that I am a huge 10 Things I Hate About You fan. If you too are a fan, you will probably recognize the first two locations.


IMG_7272Seattle(Fremont) – The Fremont Troll

3_stars

Guys this little gem is literally a troll under a bridge. He can be found in Freemont (duh) underneath the N 36th Street/George Washington Memorial Bridge on little ol’ Troll Ave. **Insert me singing the troll toll song that Danny Devito sings in Always Sunny in Philadelphia. **

When you visit:

Plan on parking a few blocks away, as this is an actual residential area. I hope you’re good at parallel parking in tight spots on a hill. Because that’s what you will probably end up doing. I would avoid the weekend when everyone and their mom is off work to visit, because even during the mid-afternoon on a weekday there were plenty of people clambering about the monument preventing a ‘good’ picture. To be honest, there really isn’t much else to do there except see the monument, so make sure you have another purpose in Fremont such as eating or something of the sort, because really, why else would you go there?

Eats I recommend:

Stone Way Café.

4_stars

This little gem is bigger than it appears from the outside. It has great coffee at a reasonable price. The vibe inside is welcome with plenty of seating and plenty of natural lighting. I got this horchata spice latte and it was fantastic. This little café has more than just coffee.  If you’re hungry they have food as well as beer/cider/wine.


 

Downtown Tacoma-Stadium High School

3_stars

This is the iconic location that all the high school scenes from 10 TIHAY was filmed. It’s not your average looking high school with its fantastic architecture. Yes, I go down there just to appreciate the building. Fans, imagine Heath Ledger singing on those cement risers on the side of the field *swoon*.

When you visit:

Since this is a downtown location, if you drive please keep in mind that you’re going to be limited on where to park – I hope you like hills and parallel parking. Bring your walking shoes, and hope you visit on a day with “perfect” outdoor weather. If you’re like me, all that walking requires the need for a treat.

 Eats I recommend:

IMG_7172

Shake Shake Shake.

4_stars

No joke, that’s what the place is called, and believe it, they have fantastic shakes. The day we went they were offering fresh blackberry shakes, which was delicious but beware of those seeds. I also take advantage of anytime I can get caramel flavored items, so I opted for a salted caramel – again, incredibly delicious. This retro location has quirky décor all the way into the bathroom, so make sure to use the pit stop just to see. 


Seattle – Pioneer Square

4_stars

IMG_7165This little corner of downtown Seattle is just a neat little area with a lot of really cool old buildings. There’s a neat little are where you can literally just hang out and play games. Challenge your friends to a tournament of ping pong, corn hole, foosball, etc.

 When you visit:

Don’t even bother driving into downtown. Parking downtown is the worst. Navigating the narrow streets and then finding parking is such a waste of time. My advice? Park somewhere on the outskirts and hoof/bus/uber/train it in. Really, Seattle Metro & Sound Transit is pretty convenient, so long as you know where you’re going & which route you need to take.

Eats I recommend:

IMG_7155BRGR Bar.

4_stars

This little hole in the wall is low key, with good burgers and drinks. I had this super PB&J and Bacon burger that was ridiculously delicious. Something about the saltiness of the bacon and the sweetness from the jelly was perfection. Now while their seasoned waffle fries aren’t anything to write home about, they were still super yummy for my tummy.

I have no idea what was in my drink or what it was called, but it was super sweet & sour without being overbearing. Think liquefied Sourpatch Kids that doesn’t get old before you finish the drink.

Overall – good food, good drinks and a super chill atmosphere with reasonable dinner prices makes a great place to haunt while you watch whatever sporting event happens to be on T.V.  when you visit.

 

Happy eating & sight seeing guys!

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One of Us Is Lying

 

32571395One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

4_stars

 

Seemingly set up to land some detention time, 5 vastly different students find that their punishment goes farther than an afternoon when one of them doesn’t make it out alive. Now the remaining 4 students have their lives completely turned upside down as the investigation on the death hones in on each of them and the secrets that they all thought would stay hidden.

 

The Story- Maybe it’s because I don’t read any thrillers or mystery, but I had no idea who done it until the big reveal. It was at that moment though, that I wasn’t relieved for those who didn’t do it, but was devastated for the one guilty. Somehow this book takes the Breakfast Club recipe and turned it into a murder mystery. The best part was how it took the basic high school tropes and transformed it into a less superficial look at the challenges that each teen was facing.

The Characters-

 80s princess brain 1985 the breakfast club GIF

Addy-By far my favorite character of this bunch. Addy grows tremendously as she learns to break from her shell and be her own person outside the expectation that her family and boyfriend has built for her.

 

 movie film sunglasses deal with it brain GIF

Bronwyn- Not everyone can be perfect, and Bronwyn seemed to have just 2 faults. First, one that lead her to the conundrum she found herself in that ultimately led to the second (which, was mostly just a disappointment to her parents).

 

 80s princess brain 1985 the breakfast club GIF

Nate-Who doesn’t love a good-bad boy? The most expected thing to happen was for Nate to show everyone that there is a boy with feelings underneath all that bad assery.

 

 

 80s princess brain 1985 the breakfast club GIF

Cooper-Surprise! The jock isn’t stuck up! The cutest thing about Cooper was that he would get all southern-drawl whenever he got worked up or nervous.

 

 

It was Professor Plum in the library with the candlestick– I kid you not I loved Clue when I was growing up. So this book really had me wondering time and time again, well maybe it was so and so. Why don’t I read more mysteries/thrillers?

The most obvious moral to the story? Don’t be a jerk because one of your classmates might try to kill you.

 indie hipster the breakfast club subtitles GIF

 

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Warcross

29385546Warcross by Marie Lu

 

4_stars

 

“Some people still say Warcross is just a stupid game. Others say it’s a revolution. But for me and millions of others, it’s the only foolproof way to forget our troubles.”

 

A virtual reality world surrounding a game that has captivated millions of users around the world. Bounty hunter and hacker Emika Chen is recruited by the creator to stop Zero, a user who has infiltrated the system, and his nefarious plans to disrupt the world championship. Emi finds herself engrossed in more than a simple chase of cat and mouse.

 

The Story- My initial expectation going into Warcross was that it would be similar to Ready Player One. Now, while there were some similarities they just weren’t enough for me to compare the two realistically. The story itself is actually quite different. The primary focus is not about winning the game, it’s about finding the villain and uncovering their plans.

“A tingle runs through me at the chance to crack this problem, possibly the biggest puzzle I’ve ever been given the chance to solve. I’m going to win this time.”

The pacing of the book was really well done by not having any long stretches ongoing scenes of gaming, romance, etc. It was broken up so that you get a nice dose of action mixed with a dash of swoony moments that actually helped drive the story. One of my only problems was when the romance tears through Tokyo zero to sixy (HAHA, if you’ve read it you know the significance to that pun). We go from first date status to here’s all my secrets  that I don’t tell anyone, p.s. meet my parents. Now while I understand the necessity of needing the reason for these secrets to be exposed in the story, I didn’t appreciate how abruptly it was done.

The World Building-One of the things I loved was that this wasn’t overly futuristic and overly submersed into virtual reality. I don’t think it’s any secret that I love Japan and Japanese culture so having that as an underlying factor was just bonus points for me. I also appreciated that the addition of Warcross outside of the game to everyday life was more of an overlay to real life rather than an obsessive second life and world altogether. It seemed to act more as an enhancement to life rather than a replacement thereof. My favorite aspect of the world building was the subtle salutes to geekdom in general, such as this shout out to the legendary Leeroy Jenkins (see link if you aren’t WoW geek enough to know the reference).

“…Leeroy something – actually got drafted into the Stormchasers, even though he always just charged in…”

My lease favorite part was that it was hard for me to understand and visualize the game. At first I thought it would be some epic digital version of capture the flag, but it turned out to be more like a capture the glowing orb  artifact floating over the carrier’s head. Each player had a specific role, but they ended up interchanging them. I was sorely disappointed at the “architects” role. I anticipated it to be more like Ellen Paige’s roll in Inception where she can alter the worlds, but all Emika had that was different from the others was some dynamite and a rope. Big whoop. In team games like this it’s important to have specific roles yes, but I thought the aspect was lost just a little bit.

The Characters-

Emi- What a great protagonist. This is a girl who came from nothing, but didn’t quite rub it in your face all the time, basically saying woe is me, and neither did she go crazy once she did have all her money. She just tucked it away like a good little squirrel. I thought it was weird that she skateboarded everywhere though, I mean, you’re in Tokyo, take train or bus…Also, we get it, you’r hair is rainbow colored.

Hideo-sort of a bland romantic interest. The only things this guy had going for him was his good look and mysteriousness. But hooray for an Asian love interest! Also, before you call people, put some clothes on, just saying. You are asking to be be ogled at if you invite someone to video chat you while you’re getting dressed, have some class.

Zero-In what little interaction we get to have with Zero, he’s got me more intrigued than Hideo. I await to see how your character develops a little bit more in the future.

Fireblood

Fireblood (Frostblood Saga, #2)Fireblood (Frostblood #2) by Elly Blake

2_stars

“The flame, eternal, like the spirits of the Fireblood people. Crush us, beat us, cut us down. We will not be extinguished. We live in the embers and rise again to consume our enemies.”

Taking over the country after his brother, Arcus has set out to create peace with Sudesia and have a safe place for firebloods. Unfortunately the court is less inclined to accept the warm blooded people.Meanwhile, the Minax is possessing citizens and wrecking havoc in the city by making them kill other people. When his court is attacked because of his new policies, Ruby takes the opportunity to protect Arcus by separating herself from his court and set out on a mission to infiltrate the Sudesian court to find the Fire Minax so the Frost Minax can be destroyed.

The Story– The things I liked about the first book were completely lost here. There was maybe 5 pages of broody Arcus, and obviously no arena scenes. Ruby did have to go through some challenges in order to accomplish her goal, but it wasn’t nearly as captivating as the gladiator-esque scenes while battling the willpower of the Minax. Fireblood was this drawn out story of Ruby just needing acceptance and the entire time she was like “Arcus forever”, turns around, “mmm Kai, you’re conveniently here and flirting with me.”

Around the 80% mark I realized, that this just isn’t going to wrap up nicely in time. Which caused me to realize, that this just isn’t the end.

“‘We need to be prepared for the worst.’

Except the worst keeps getting…worse.'”

 riverdale cw the cw jughead cole sprouse GIF

The World Building-There was pretty much no additional world building in this book. What little there was was spent on the dynamic of the Fireblood masters and the trials to become a master.

The Characters

Ruby-Despite there obviously being a love triangle, it was really just so lighthearted that it should hardly count. Ruby being the key element in the triangle turned out to be flighty in the fact that she was so easily swept away. I found that she fell more into the convenience rather than actual feeling.

Arcus-True to form, Arcus was broody and romantic at the same time. Unfortunately, he was only in maybe 10% of the book, yet his presence was enough to keep Ruby faithful enough. My dear Arcus, you deserve better.

Kai-I don’t have any feelings for this guy. Despite him being a fireblood I found him to be lukewarm at best. Honestly, if he was going to sweep Ruby off her feet couldn’t he have had a bigger impact of character traits?

 

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Summer Unscripted

32492159Summer Unscripted by Jen Klein

 

Did not finish 50%

 

“I’m like a human skipping stone, splashing across life’s surface, going after on thing and then another.” 

Maybe it’s because it’s not summer anymore. Maybe it’s because the protagonist is this wishy washy girl. I am 50% through the book and I can some it up REALLY easily. Sorry this review is such a mess though.

-*googly eyes* at Tuck
-I like Tuck! Let’s stalk him this summer
-Uses old friend to help stalk Tuck
-Oh hi other cute boy who’s nice!
-Oh, you’re old friend’s ex?
-Let’s not make this awkward
-I like Tuck!
-Other cute boy is cute!
-Insert some theater jargon here
-I like Tuck! **been stalking him this summer, still don’t know him well
-Other cute boy is cute! But I can’t like him…because I am supposed to like Tuck.
-Also you’re old friends ex…**not that it matters cause I’m not REAL friends with her anyway…
-I like Tuck!
-But this other guy is cute…

GET. OVER. YOURSELF.

 

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The Couple Next Door

28815474The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

3 stars

 

It’s OCTOBER! My sis and I are reading some scary books as a theme this month. This was in the Mystery & Thriller section so here goes…

The Story:

You go next door with your husband to a small dinner party and leave your baby at home because the babysitter canceled. You protest but your hubby insists and says it will all be okay since the monitor is on. Well guess what? The baby is taken and it’s your worst nightmare.  And not only because you are missing your angelic child, NO, because now you are being judged. And really, that’s a parent’s worst nightmare right?

The Characters:

Anne: She’s a married rich kid still living off of mom and (step)dad. She also has postpartum depression and other baggage that’s revealed later on. DID Anne kill her child and get rid of the body?

Marco: He came from nothing and married up. His business is on the fritz. DID Marco stage a kidnapping of his own child?

Cynthia : She’s the sexy next door neighbor who hates kids. DID she do it because the baby gets in the way of her friendship with Anne?

Read it and find out!

LOL, I might be a bit delirious with exhaustion right now and I think my review is showing that. Sorry guys!

Wrap-up:

I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars. It was a quick read but I was hoping it would be more suspense and it really wasn’t. It’s basically a whodunnit story with some twists. And nobody is who you think they are. And it basically confirms my mother’s paranoia that your baby is never safe and never, ever, ever leave it alone even to go to the bathroom. And yes, mom, I will double check that the doors are locked and the kids are in their beds sleeping before I turn in.

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A Gathering of Shadows

20764879A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V. E. Schwab (Victoria Schwab)

5 Stars

AGoS picks up months after where ADSoM left us– on a boat with Lila and her new fellow shipmates aboard the Night Spire. Kell meanwhile is not adjusting to life that is tied to the royal prince. Essentially under house arrest, Kell is getting restless living day to day under constant supervision and without anything to distract him from the one person who manages to find their way back into his thoughts; Delilah Bard. While the rest of Red London is preparing for the Element Games, Prince Rhy devises a scheme to allow Kell to release some steam. Caught up in their own lives, Black, White, & Grey London seem to be flourishing in their own ways.

The Story-This book was so much better than the first one! In fact, it made me appreciate the first one even more! The first book felt more like character development and world development – the background story that brings our characters together, I mean sure there is a lot that does actually happen, but for some reason I feel like the adventure really started here.

The World Building-AGoS really brought in a deeper understanding into the magic that Kell uses. Introducing rules and consequences to the magic, how magic is used combatively, and even how the other countries surrounding Red London view magic. Aside from that we didn’t get much more world building, as we really are returning to our beloved London’s.

The Characters-I feel like the characters really came to life in this book – especially Delilah. Her mannerisms and actions really helped drive her character as she had to prove to herself as well as the world that she is no ordinary girl.

In aGoS we get extra points of views as well. So all those who were going gaga over Rhy in the first book, be happy because you got what you asked for. Unfortunately, Rhy isn’t the charming prince that he comes off to be, and as we delve into her POV we get an understanding of how he feels in the aftermath of Kell linking their lives together.

 

If you haven’t already seen, there is quite a bit of awesome fanart out there for the SoM series.

Kell by Merwild

Delilah Bard by Freiheit

One of my favorites is Merwild. (Kell) The other is Freiheit. (Delilah Bard)

As always, I would be careful scouring the internet for any fan art, as it might unintentionally give away spoilers.

 

 

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Related reviews:

22055262

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V. E. Schwab

 

 

 

 

Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by Victoria Schwab