Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

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Goodreads Blurb

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

 

Review

My best friend and I picked this book up just to see what all the hype was about. I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. I’m usually not the biggest Sci-Fi fan but I really enjoyed this one! I tried explaining what the book is about to my husband and it sounds really hodg-hodge outloud but Kaufman and kristoff really pull it off. When I was explaining what it was about  I found it hard to take serious at first… “Space, zombie virus, and a killer artificial intelligence system..” Yeah…

But I LOVED the main characters. Kady + Ezra forever! Both characters are hilariously witty and sarcastic. I loved seeing them banter back in forth. Their online flirting almost reminded me of Christian Grey and Ana’s from Fifty Shades of Grey.

I hear the second book Gemina is following several different characters. But I want to know what happens with Kady and Ezra and Ezra’s crazy mother!!! Maybe they will be in the background or somewhere in the next book. I think if I have to wait for a whole new book the not knowing is going to kill me.

At the beginning of the book I didn’t like AIDAN but the more you get to know the AI system the more sympathy you have for him (it?). I hope he helps Ezra and Kady fight against Ezra’s mother when it comes down to it and that he doesn’t go crazy again. I’m interested in finding out if the zombie virus will make a reappearance  in the next book. I feel like it would have to since it was such a large part in the first one. I always think Bietech will be around more. The problems in the first book are just going to snowball.

I just feel so completely blown out of the water by this one. I am so so so so so impressed by how they pulled off the story so well. If I were to write something this intricate it would be all over the place! But everything goes together so smoothly!

I give this one 5/5. Once you pick it up you won’t be able to  put it down! I also have to say, I think this one is a great read for girls and guys. In my opinion, YA generally leans more towards female protagonist, but this one has both which makes it more awesome!

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Bookish Interview with Lacey :)

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Hey guys, this is my friend and coworker Lacey! Lacey enjoys realistic fiction and mystery novels but recently she has picked up Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and is loving it!

Where is your favorite place to read? 
My over-sized reading chair at home.
What are some of your all time favorite books? 
Gone Girl, Sharp Objects, The Giver, Holes, The Devil’s Arithmetic, and Dark Places
What was your favorite childhood book and why? 
I loved The Babysitter’s Club Series… so cliche, I know. I read them in 5th and 6th grade. I really felt a connection with the characters as they learned to become responsible. I also felt like the struggles between the group of friends would help prepare me for middle school and high school.
Who is your favorite author and why? 
Gillian Flynn. Even though I’ve only read a few of her books, I really enjoy the suspense and twists in her books. I literally cannot stop reading once I start.
Where is your favorite book setting? 
I like modern settings or Dystopian.
What would you say is your favorite literature genre? 
mystery, sappy love stories, Utopian/Dystopian
If you could change the ending of one book, which book would it be and how would you change the ending? 
I would change the ending to Jodi Picoult’s book, “Mercy.” It really didn’t have a resolution. I would like to know whether the wife stayed with her cheating husband or dumped his sorry butt.
If you could choose one literary character that you identify most with, who would it be and why? 
I don’t really feel like I identify with any one character. The thing I enjoy most about reading is the ability to escape from reality and enter a world that is so vastly different from my life.
Have you ever read a book that you hated? If yes, which one? 
Most of the books I hated I didn’t read. I typically read the cliff’s notes instead.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Novel and Film Discussion)

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“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Goodreads Blurb

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.

Review

I was given this novel by a coworker/friend. It’s been one of her favorite books for a long time and she was floored when she found out I had never read it. Granted most people are. Ricardo, my husband and my mother have been pushing for me to read the book since I was in middle school. I moved school several times growing up so I think I always missed the required reading from switching schools.

In my defense, I grew up watching the movie. My grandparents were born in 1924 and 1934 so they always loved the movie because it reminded them of when they grew up. And my grandmother (and everyone else really) loves Gregory Peck and Robert Duvall. They’re so good looking in To Kill A Mockingbird!

I thought the book was amazing. But I do want to point out that the novel was way more sad than the film. I think the movie was meant more for family entertainment and the book was a life lesson. Every conversation in the book was meant to teach a lesson. Everything Scout and Jem asked Atticus, was weaved into this philosophical web of life truths. The film and the book both were definitely meant to portray how backwards thinking people in the South during this time but in my opinion the book portrayed it better. It made me as mad as Jem was after the jury convicted Tom Robinson. I hated the injustice of it. And that novel shows exactly how children have to learn hard lessons. That people are not always inherently good. Sometimes groups of people make the wrong decisions based off of comfort and off of mob mentality.

Another part in the book that killed me was the chapter showing Jem and Scout going to read to Mrs. Dubose when she was dying. It hit really close to home because I lost two grandparents this summer within 3 weeks of each other. It just reminded me of how death is not pretty and peaceful the way some movies and books show it. My grandfather did pass away in his sleep and it was still one of the most painful things I have ever witnessed. I think that part of the book was omitted from the film because it would have made it less family friendly. It would have definitely set a sadder tone than the film ended up having.

My favorite characters in this book were of course the kids. I loved the chapters where Dill had come to visit Jem and Scout. I remember having friendships like those and the memories are priceless. I was sad that Dill never ended up permanently moving from Meridian to Maycomb.

I was also surprised by how much I loved the setting of this novel. Usually my favorite settings are the ones that take place in a foreign country in the medieval times or a magical place. Lee manages to really capture the time period in this novel and I love how simple life seems for the most part. The kids walk to and from school four times a day, church is just what you did, everyone is neighborly for the most part, and the kids are still playing outside on tire swings and come up with creative ways to entertain themselves. I wish the world was a little more like that these days. Everyone is always on an electronic device and only halfway present mentally and physically.

I was greatly saddened by the fact that the kids did not see Boo Radley again after he saved their lives in the end. I thought they would have formed this close relationship to where they could at least visit each other on a normal basis. I may be completely wrong but was Boo Radley autistic? Or did he just suffer from a bad home life? Although I think it’s tragic they didn’t continue with their relationship, I like the idea that Jem and Scout would forever have this memorable experience of the reclusive Boo Radley and that would stick with them way up into their adulthood.

I give this novel 5/5 stars. I think this novel wins the #1 slot on my list of favorite classics.

Let’s Talk Social Media Platforms

I’ve been wanting to do this post for awhile. Today we have an overload of social media platforms and I wanted to discuss my favorite ones in regards to blog growth, finding out about the newest and most interesting books out there and just following interesting people.

I’ll start by sharing with you what makes up my social media, be it Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat, Facebook, WordPress, Twitter, etc. My social media is riddled with books and all things bookish, fitness and meal prepping, cooking/baking, writing and all things NaNoWriMo, author’s, fitness and travel inspirations, and beauty vloggers/bloggers.

My social media experience started off many years ago. Around year 2004. In middle school I used Xanga (an online journal for you youngin’s who have never heard of it), AIM (AOL instant messaging), and Myspace which was essentially Facebook before Facebook was around.

We’ve upgraded so much since then. I spend way too much time on social media these days. One because it’s useful and it keeps me up to date with my students. Two, because it’s a great way to communicate with people. It’s helped expand my blog and I’ve met awesome people who share the same interests as me. I think my favorite platform would have to be Instagram. I’ve met lots of fellow book lovers, talked to author’s, and I hear about all of the new up and coming books coming out from all of the big publisher’s and from watching bookstagramer’s unboxings.

After Instagram, Youtube is probably my next favorite. It’s hours and hours of unlimited entertainment! And anyone can do it! I started watching Youtube videos in college when my best friend introduced me to different beauty vloggers such as Tanya Burr, Ingrid Nilsen, Zoella, and Kathleen Lights. Now I follow people who post Storytimes and fitness videos, baking, etc. I personally don’t really have any experience making Youtube videos. I always wanted to try book vlogging but the camera is intimidating.

Oh my gosh, and Vlogmas. If you haven’t experienced Vlogmas yet you need to find a Youtuber that participates in Vlogmas in December. You basically just watch how their holiday season is going and they host giveaways and advertise new things for different companies. It’s festive! And helps you come up with ideas for Christmas gifts.

Now I follow lots of book vloggers like author Lindsay Cummings, Sasha Alsberg, and Read By Zoe. You can literally learn anything from Youtube. And it’s perfect for people who need a visual for How-To projects. And watching all of the new videos from the week is my favorite Saturday/Sunday morning routine. It’s the perfect way to wake up and enjoy your coffee.

Recently I’ve been addicted to Snapchat too. Sadly, one of the first things I do when I’m eating breakfast in the morning is check my Snapchat stories. It makes you feel so connected. Some of the people I follow are in different states or countries so their snaps are always really interesting to me!

I will always love Facebook. It gets a lot of flack from all the youngsters these days but I think it’s great. My husbands family lives on the East Coast and some are in Central America so it’s been one of the best ways to stay in touch with everyone. And I’ve had it for so long that it has all of my pictures on it and I enjoy seeing all of the On This Day pictures and posts that come up everyday.

I still feel like a newbie at Twitter. I’ve had one for several years but I don’t enjoy it as much as Facebook. I hate how the Tweets are so short and it feels so unorganized when I look at my feed. I use it for work and to advertise my blog but that’s about it.

And of course WordPress. I’ve had a WordPress blog for about 3 or 4 years now. I started it in college but did not actively keep up with it until about a year and a half ago. Technology used to intimidate me but I’ve grown more comfortable with it since I use it so often as a teacher. Everything is on computers and chromebooks now!

Other platforms worth mentioning would be Goodreads and Pinterest. I love them and I think they all can be really addicting. I have to limit myself on social media sometimes. I’ll wake up in the morning on the weekend and check all of my social media and I’ll look at the clock and a half hour has passed! Sad, right? It’s just so useful! And such a great way to meet new people, expand your business, shop, etc.

New Excerpt from Crown of Ice – NaNoWriMo

Early on Mina had been cursed with a fierce curiosity. Her nursemaid Millie told her so many times one day being a Princess would not be enough to get her out of the trouble she seemed to always pull herself into from sticking her nose where it didn’t belong. She was not mean-spirited she just wanted to know everything. Literally, everything. Where did that winding road lead to? Why was that commoner crying? Had her husband gone off to war and not made it home? Was she not able to feed her small children clinging to her muddy skirts? Sometimes she would go as far as asking. Some commoners appreciated her interest in their lives, others thought her too cavalier.

One sunny afternoon in the market she had asked the wrong man about the dirty bandage around his head. She asked if he had made a gallant effort to save his love from a burning house or had he been in war? The man spit at her feet and began screaming obscenities to her. Her guards immediately intervened and pushed her behind them. She found out later that Damon had had the man beaten publically for public indecency. Indecent in the sense that he was dirty and unseemly to passerbys. His two small children had been forced to stand back and watch with no compassion from anyone around for fear of Damon and her father’s wrath.

Since then she tried to behave a bit more tactfully but sometimes her inquisitiveness got the better of her.

Walking down the abandoned corridor she had found, Mina listened intently to the giggling she had heard early that morning. She wasn’t aware that she was sharing her wing with anyone else. None of the servants had told her of other visitors to the Palace and the Queen had not introduced her to anyone since she arrived.

The incessant giggling grew louder and louder the farther south she walked. All of these living quarters looked empty with the doors open and not so much as the wind blowing through the window and outside trees could be heard. Ordinarily she would have been worried about intruding but with her curiosity propelling her forward and no friends to investigate with she plowed onward.

Reaching a set of closed double doors Mina pressed her right ear to the door, careful not to scrape her gold earing on the cherrywood. The giggling was coming from a female voice and a male. Who would possibly be staying down here in the South wing of the castle? Allowing her curiosity to get the better of her she kneeled down in her burgundy silk and taffeta gown and pressed her right eye to the keyhole. At first she saw no one, only hearing the soft giggles and acquiesces of the female in the room. All she could tell was the female sounded young, around her age or maybe a few years older.

After crouching down for a good while a slim, ebony haired beauty sashayed by in her undergarments. She may have been one of the most exotically beautiful girls Mina had ever seen. The gold in her corset bringing out her dark, tanned skin. Mina was not overly self-conscience. She was comfortable in her skin. Her wheat colored hair fell in ringlets down her back when she left it down and had a sprinkling of freckles across her nose and cheeks. One would assume her eyes were blue from far away but she had inherited her mother’s grey irises and up close they looked like a dark steel color.

But this girl made her feel inadequate. Mina did not feel exotic or tall. She felt small and plain next to the raven haired beauty.

After giggling and prancing around to show off her slim figure, a taller man joined her in front of the keyhole. He was also taller, and broad. Very broad. He was paler than the girls but had corded muscles running from his arms to his back, where she was slender. Mina wondered who the couple was and why they were hiding out.

She wondered no more when the man turned toward the window. She recognized his straight nose and side grin. She could see the dark brown color of his eyes, reflecting gold from her hiding spot. She gasped and fell backwards, ungracefully, on her bottom. Knowing she had made too much noise already she quickly gathered her skirts and tried to hoist herself up quickly before the young couples could make it across the room to the doors. As she was gathering her skirts in fistfuls to make a quick getaway when the door was flung open. The man had thrown his undershirt on and did not look pleased, until he realized who had interrupted his ren de vous.

“Mina?” he asked clearly confused and maybe a little amused at Mina’s haggard state.

“Castian.” Mina choked out. She felt her cheeks flush a violent red and as if the gods hated her the raven haired beauty came to the doorway and frowned down upon her. Mina lifted her head in an attempt to come off more confident than she felt and muttered an excuse about being lost and trying to find the stables so that she could see the palace grounds.

The girl decided to answer for Castian and said, not without disdain “Those would be outside Princess, not in the castle.”  After saying so she tugged at the Prince’s shirt tail persuading him to close the door on his betrothed and to join her again in their hideout.

“Straight down the way you came, down the stairs and out the side doors of the castle. You should remember that. Or you can take the passageway hidden behind the tapestry in your quarters. You remember.” With that he winked and closed the door.

 

Recreated by Colleen Houck

Goodreads Blurb

Lily Young thought traveling across the globe with a reawakened sun prince was a grand adventure. Now she’s about to embark on the journey of a lifetime.

When Amon and Lily part tragically, he transports himself to the Netherworld—what mortals call hell. Tormented by the loss of his one true love, he’d rather suffer in agony during Lily’s mortal years than fulfill his duty to protect humanity.

Heartbroken, Lily seeks refuge on her grandmother’s farm. Yet she can feel Amon’s pain, and she has been having dreams—dreams of Amon continually suffering.

For before he departed, Amon gave Lily something very special, an item that connects them even though they are worlds apart. Now Lily must use this object to free him, and to free their realms from darkness and utter chaos. She will do whatever it takes.

 

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Review

I gave this one 3/5 stars. I was very disappointed. Siiiiigh. I was so excited about this book because I couldn’t put the first one down. This book took me several weeks to finish. I just wasn’t feeling it. It was really hodge-podgey and the story had some very slow parts. I thought Lily going to the Underworld to save Amon would be really cool but then Lily went to meet Hassan with Anubis and it all got weird from there. I thought the whole lioness sharing consciousness with Lily was odd. It made the story hard to follow and I just didn’t find it interesting.

And later in the story once they go through the Turquoise Forest she then shares her body with the lioness, Tia and a fairy named Ashleigh. And then all of the different consciousness began falling for the different brothers. Lily still loved Amon, Tia fell for Asten, and Ashleigh seems like she’s into Ahmose. It was just odd.

After finishing this book I’m not sure if I even want to try and read Reunited… I just don’t feel as interested in the story anymore. But I do want to eventually read Reignited, which is a prequel to the whole series. I think it’s about the brothers back when they were princes, before they were the Son’s of Egypt and had to keep balance in the world every thousand years.

I was also a little disappointed that Amon didn’t play a bigger part in this book. Houck pulled a Stephenie Meyer and took out the main hottie! I know you all remember reading New Moon, and being upset that Edward Cullen was basically replaced by Jacob! It still hurts when I think about it….

I wish I had more to say on this one. It’s not the end all be all for Houck but after falling in love with her Tiger’s Curse series and then Reawakened, I thought all of her books would be that awesome.