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:

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

 

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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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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.

 

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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).

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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.'”

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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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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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Wonder Woman : Warbringer

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1) by Leigh Bardugo

 

“As I breath, your enemies will know no sanctuary. While I live, your cause is mine.” 

 

4 Stars
If you’re new to superhero stories, you should know this, there are lots of different versions to each hero’s story. As a new writer or director brings the story around, they keep the simple elements, but renew the story each time. With that being said, if you recently watched the movie starring Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, please don’t expect this book to follow the same story line.

Warbringer tells the story of Diana who was born an Amazon, and didn’t earn it. She is steadfast in finding a way to prove that she is worthy of living on the island with her sister Amazons. When Diana makes the mistake of saving a drowning girl, Alia, she goes through great lengths in atoning for the law she broke despite the risk of being banished from the island. Alia is a Warbringer, a descendent of Helen of Troy, and well…a bringer of war. It’s up to Diana and Alia to find a way to break the Warbringer curse or risk starting WW3.

The Story– Told from alternating POV, this action packed book brings the punches over and over as Diana learns to maneuver in the mortal world while trying to protect Alia and save the world from a massive war. While the book was exciting, it did take place over just a few days, making it also fast paced. Therefore there really wasn’t room for a very in depth story. After the origins portion of the book, the reader is sent on a mission to get from point A to point B alive – meaning, a lot of stuff happens in quick spurts to deter them from their mission.

The World Building-The world building for Themyscira was wonderful. You get a real sense of peace and a bonded sisterhood among the Amazons. Getting the background on the culture of the Amazons really helps a reader to get into the conscious of Diana and why she is so motivated to prove herself. Being set apart all she really wants is to belong and be worthy of being called an Amazon.

The Characters-All the characters had their own unique personalities, and even though Diana is the main character, it was a relief to experience a wide variety of attitudes; the fierceness of the Amazons, Alia’s need for freedom, the controlling aspect of Jason (Alia’s brother), the whitty Nim (Alia’s best friend), and the nerdiness of Theo. All of their personalities combined give a little bit for everyone. My favorite part for Diana, however, is her cluelessness to modern idioms despite her knowledge of the mortal world.

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Unspoken Rules

35424123Unspoken Rules by Lora Inak

ARC provided by Netgalley for a fair review.

Publish date: September 17, 2017

2 Stars

“She wasn’t like the other kids at school. She didn’t have the same freedoms. She had to live the life decided for her. Tread the same terrain trodden on by her mother, her grandmother, no doubt her sister and countless other girls and women from her community. Her road was set – long straight, even, the scenery black and white.” 

Unspoken Rules is about a Syrian girl, Natalie, living in Australia desperately trying to balance life at home within the Syrian Christian Orthodox community and her secular life at school.

The Story-What I liked about this story was that it instilled quite a bit of culture around Natalie’s choices. It’s a lot more than just strict parents with lots of rules – it has to do with the background of why there are rules. So when she went around trying to hide her choices from her family it was understandable. Here she was trying to live a life as a modern teenager in Australia, when her life was shrouded by religion, tradition, and expectation. Her life at home at school was so drastically different that it was just so much easier to separate the two rather than merge them as one life – her life.

The Characters-Natalie could be the biggest hypocrite. Like here she was complaining about how traditional her family was, and then flip out and unfriend her best friend because of a modern choice she made, that frankly didn’t actually affect Natalie in any shape or form.
I did however adore how unsuperficial she was when it came to her judging people, especially when it came to including one of the unpopular girls at her church.

The Connection-I was raised in a fairly strict household, so I definitely get how she would feel when it comes to not being allowed to do a lot of things. I honestly got a little annoyed at how much she was complaining about her different lives. Like, dang girl, you’re the one who made it that way. At least she admitted she needed to grow up. I also found it a little weird how open she was to changes in her life once a boy was involved. It was a big relief to see that at some point in their relationship she realized the choices she was making was drastically different than how she was raised. Now while I do not agree with some of the way the orthodox religion is, I do not agree with someone just flip flopping without a thought – and I was incredibly happy that she didn’t just get carried away with the moment.

All in all, I thought the book was okay, but nothing to really grab my friend and rave about to.

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Boomerang Boyfriend

36054598Boomerang Boyfriend by Chris Cannon

1 Star

ARC from Netgalley for an honest review…So, I normally like to get my ARC reviews out before the release…but oops >_<

Delia has been best friends with Zoe for forever. With both parents constantly working odd hours she has practically grown up at Zoe’s house, making Zoe’s family basically her family. That is, until suddenly, Zoe’s jerky older brother Jack isn’t so jerky. Boomerang Boyfriend uses the I-like-my-best-friend’s-brother trope…and beats it with a stick. That’s it, that’s literally the story.

The Story-So I usually am okay with cliche story lines, as long as they are done well. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough going on in this story to bring in some stars on my rating. The story bounced between both Delia & Jack’s POV, and even that didn’t add much depth to the story.

“My life would be so much easier if I liked someone who wasn’t my best friend’s brother. Or if he didn’t like me. And who knows? Maybe he didn’t.”

“Holding her like this felt oddly comfortable. I realized if I leaned down just a little bit, I’d be in the perfect position to kiss her. Wait. Where is that thought coming from? I needed to snap back to reality.

Now rewrite this a few different times, alternate the points of view, throw in a lot of doggy scenes & MINOR just-a-friend drama and you have the book.

In between all that there was a lot of inconsequential filler such as

The Characters– All the characters seemed fairly believable and it was nice to just have normal characters. Everyone had their own issues going on, however, it wasn’t used as a major driving factor as a character trait. Unfortunately, no one had any memorable personalities either. What I came out of thinking was that Jack’s best friend Trevor’s family are really irresponsible dog owners (they constantly left out food when the dog was notorious for getting into, eating, then pooping/vomiting snacks)

The Connection-I think this book would have been a lot better if it was told from just one point of view. For me with a YA romance the biggest factor besides actual plot/characters is the part that makes my heart feel like its being wrung out. Reading about how rational both characters were with dealing with their feelings sadly ruined it for me. There were no moments of miscommunication or confusion that I didn’t instantly know the other side, letting me know that it will probably get worked out.

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