Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff Review

This is going to be a spoiler free review.

This was probably THE most INTENSE book I have EVER read! It was non-stop action from page 1, and the formatting made sure that it was a quick read. It is next to impossible to put this book down.

I loved the characters, the plot was interesting (I’ve never read a story like this before), and that FORMAT, can we just take a moment to admire that? I have never HEARD of a book that has done a format quite like this one.

And yeah. I’m not sure what else to say except WOW!

Some moments verged on scary (the moments with those infected with the virus were down right spine-chillng), but for the most part, it was just non-stop action, with a few moments in between where things BARELY calmed down.

 I will DEFINITELY be getting book 2, Gemina.

Enclave by Ann Aguirre Review

I really wanted to like this book, I really did. But there were so many things that annoyed me that it was, unfortunately, beyond saving.
The writing was inconsistent and choppy in places and the characters were hard to relate to.

                                                WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Like stated above, the writing was inconsistent: sometimes it was good, other times it needed work.
There were odd phrasings and you could tell where the edits had occurred, and where they were needed.
There was a line in the book that I just can’t get over, I know that it was only once, but there were a few lines like these in other places, though not like this:
“It was a different from the buildings that surrounded it, more beautiful and with rounded points atop the windows. Most of them hung in jagged shards, and it had been marked with white painted that identified it as claimed territory.”

You couldn’t have made them relatable? I know they are in a dystopian world, but really? I couldn’t relate to Deuce, who, only until the middle part of the book realized that her Enclave had been keeping secrets and lying to her.
And then when they got Topside, she finally started to realize just how much she had been lied to.
I think the reason that Deuce bothered me so much is due to the fact that most YA (and especially Dystopian) protagonists are unhappy with their situation, they are always looking for something different, or they are more adventurous and see more for themselves then when they are dealt, unlike Deuce, who was quite content to live out her life in ignorance and blindly following the Enclaves rules.
The opposite of Fade, who is our other protagonist, and I have to say, I did like him better because he didn’t blindly do as he was told, but he annoyed me also because he fell into himself too easily when something happened. Banner was killed, he fell into himself and blamed Deuce for her death, Pearl died, he fell into himself, and at the end there is still an apparent rift between them, because of Stalker, who is a character that I feel was just added to create an unnecessary love triangle.
Fade and Deuce initially clash, but over time bond, and I don’t know if they are supposed to be in love yet or not, I honestly don’t know. It seems like that’s the plan, but Fade never opens up, and Deuce doesn’t know how to interact with a romantic interest, so most of their scenes where I guess they are supposed to be falling in love or something were awkward.
Then it kind of went downhill even farther with the introduction of Stalker, who, as stated above, I felt was an unnecessary character, as he seemed to be there just to be the opposite of Fade, mainly in appearance.
Deuce admires the fighter in him, but other than that, I don't see anything that indicates she has any other feelings for him, in fact, seeing as how he had 'claimed' her when she was taken by his gang to be a 'Breeder', you'd think she'd have more of a problem with him joining them, like Tegan did, and even her protests didn't last long.
And I don't even know what to say about Tegan, you sympathize with her character, but other than that, there isn't any real growth, or anything to really add substance to the friendship between Deuce and Tegan. She's just kind of there.

The plot was kind of slow to get going, nothing actually happened until the middle of the book when Deuce and Fade took the blame for one of Deuce's friends, who had been accused of 'hoarding', which she knew he was innocent of, and was shunned as a result and forced to go Topside, where you'd think things would pick up, but no. Things seemed to drag a bit Topside as well, and then they got attacked by a gang, the Wolves, twice. And I didn't care.
Deuce was taken to be a 'Breeder', and is claimed by the leader of the Wolves, Stalker, and Fade was taken to be hunted for sport.
This is where she meets Tegan, who had also been taken a Breeder some time previously.
And, after escaping, they literally run into Fade and, after taking out a great deal of the Wolves, who, as it turns out, were initiates, basically, they run.
After meeting up with a girl, Pearl, that Fade knew from his past, they locate a library where, not too long later, they are once again attacked by the Wolves, who are then attacked by the intelligent Freaks that had been encountered previously, where Pearl, who had been abducted by the Wolves, is killed.
And, this is where the book lost me, and I realized that there was no hope: they let Stalker join them. SERIOUSLY? It wasn't even a long discussion, it took ONE PAGE! And only Tegan protested.
And then Deuce on the next page, after this had been decided observes of Tegan: "Tegan hunched her shoulders, tension in the lines of her body. She seemed upset with Fade's decision." YA THINK?!?

Okay, I'm going to end this review here because I wrote it out previously, and it got WAY too ranty lol 

The (Dis)Appearance of Nerissa MacKay by Lisa Shafer Review

First off, I want to say that there will be spoilers in this review, so you have been warned.

The writing was good, it had a nice flow to it.
I thought that the playlists at the beginning of each chapter was a unique thing. I liked it, especially when I recognized some of the songs lol.

And now, unfortunately, for the things that bothered me a bit:

I felt that the characters seemed kind of 2 dimensional. You had the popular clique, and the outcast, and the caring, protective aunt.
But I felt that Nerissa was being portrayed more as a stereotypical 14 year old, than as an actual character.
She was obsessed with getting this one role in her school play, and she had been dressing up in different costumes every day for a year in the hopes that the drama teacher would recognize that she could stand out, later finding out that this backfired and had her assigned as the 'Costume Mistress', later deciding/realizing that the drama teacher would never have put her in the play because she wasn't 'pretty' like her nemesis, Gina, who, beyond the 'perfect, mean girl' personality, she had no real substance either, neither did her followers, who never really got much focus, aside from Cori, who was singled out from the beginning as being a former friend of Nerissa's who turned on her to impress Gina.
And while I did sympathize with Nerissa's problems, I just felt that she focused too much on comparing herself to others, dreaming about the 'hottest' guy in school (Also, whenever she mentioned his name, Braden, she would always add a 'sigh' near his name), and being the lead in the play, which she thought would finally get her noticed.
And while, it seems she does display several characteristics of your average teenager, I just felt that she didn't display anything beyond that, which was disappointing.

This is kind of two-sided, because I thought that having the mystery inter-woven and kind of seeping through Nerissa’s obsessive psyche was interesting and well done, but her motivation for wanting to figure out what’s been happening annoyed me. She only wanted to solve the mystery of who’s ‘haunting’ Gina and her groupies, as well as the other popular girls in her school, simply to expose Gina as the culprit and therefore get the lead in the school play.
However, I found this rationalization irritating, as it fed into her obsession with getting the lead and one-upping Gina.

Overall, it wasn't the best story I've ever read, but also not the worst.
The author has a clear voice, and it's possible that this just wasn't my cup of tea.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Blood Oath by Samantha Coville Review

This review contains spoilers. You have been warned. First off I would like to say congratulations to the author for her debut, it was quite a good book :)

I've never read a book about Sirens before, so it was unique and I could picture everything that happened in the book.

There were a few issues that I had with it, but they didn't take away from the fact that I enjoyed this book.

At times, certain characters seemed to be one dimensional, and as someone who is also writing a book, I understand how difficult it is to not focus on just one character, or a few.
Some of the characters seemed to be stereotypical teenagers. You had the nerd, the jock, and the bitch.
My advice is try and focus on each character as an individual.

And now onto the things I liked.

The Sirens have their own culture that I would have liked to delve into more, and I hope that in the future books we get to explore it.

2. KAT 
She was probably my favorite character (I like kick-ass characters). I like that she fought with weapons, even though Sirens look down on using weapons, seeing it as an insult to their abilities.
I liked that she wasn't afraid to be herself and I hope that she gets more screen time in the next book.

The only thing I know about Sirens is that they would lure sailors to their deaths with their voices in ancient times, and I liked that this book explored them.
The Call is the most famous thing about the Sirens, and the only other thing is that they are beautiful, and I really liked that this book expanded on certain things, like that they try and be good, and they don't drink blood excessively, and that some of them are nice, so well done to the author for that.

I know this may seem more like what I said about the Culture, but I've always been a fan of the 'world within a world' plots, so I really enjoyed this. It was unique, and like I said above, I have never read a Siren book before, so it was refreshing.

Overall, I liked this book. It was well written, and had a cool plot. I look forward to reading future books by Miss Coville.
Keep up the great writing! :D