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.
<error>
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.
<error>
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.

 

scrill sig

 

Related Reviews:

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

 

 

 

29236299

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

 

Advertisements

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.

scrill sig

 

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.

scrill sig

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?

 

scrill sig

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.

 

scrill sig

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.

Hannah sig

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.

 

 

scrill sigHannah sig

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

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.

scrill sig

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.

scrill sig