Category Archives: Sci-Fi

Jane, Unlimited – Kristin Cashore

Jane, Unlimited – Kristin CashoreTitle: Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore
Publishing Info: September 19, 2017 by Penguin, Listening Library
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Alternate Reality, Parallel Universe
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 6, 2017
Related Posts: Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)

Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family's island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: "If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you'll go." With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn't know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

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JANE, UNLIMITED is literally the most unique book I’ve ever read. It’s unlike anything else, with a unique concept, characters, plot, and structure, and this both enhanced my reading experience and left me utterly confused.

I need to go into books blindly so I don’t ruin the twists and the overall experience for myself so I did some reading up on the book immediately after finishing to help ground me a little bit, and I found (which I actually had heard before and completely forgot) that the concept originally started as a sort of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novel and developed into what it is. It’s quite impossible to really discuss the book without mentioning specific spoilers so for spoiler-free thoughts, I’ll say that it was quite a wild ride and listening to an audiobook may have made it even more complicated, not able to SEE what was going on with the print on the pages, but I also thoroughly enjoyed the audio performance (one of Rebecca Soler’s best, in my opinion).

Without knowing the CYOA concept, the book seemed unmoored — flowing from story to story not really knowing where one ended and the next began. Once I understood that these were actually telling different parts and weren’t following a chronological timeline, it made a lot more sense to me and I was able to appreciate it more. I thought at first that things were just non-sequential and I kept trying to put each part back into the first to follow through with the same timeline and it was just so confusing, but again, that probably would have been more easily deduced if I was reading a print copy and not the audio version. It also made a LOT more sense once I figured out that these were being told in different parts because I was thinking as I was listening that this story feels like it’s wrapping up but holy cow, I have a LONG way to go to finish this book haha!

That being said, I enjoyed most of the adventures. The first few parts were more enjoyable than the last few because things really started to go off the deep end towards the end of the book. It sort of starts in the more probable and drifts towards the more fantastical with each story and it was hard to grasp so many different genres within the same book as possibilities all at once, but I will say that it was incredibly interesting and I found them all fascinating, even if I didn’t particularly love each one. I DID love that each part revealed a little something and tied back to a point that was made in the beginning of the book or a part of another story. There were so many things going on in this peculiar house and Jane ended up discovering them all… just not all in the same version. I’m really glad the readers get to see why the characters are doing peculiar things, why the house feels a little bit emotional, and why the art plays such a big part of everything. Though I still don’t know why umbrellas are such a big deal.

One of my disappointments with the book was just that I needed a little something more from the ending. I would have been really impressed if the book had wrapped up with a singular ending that sort of put all of the stories at peace because none of them really ended and I would have been SUPER impressed if Kristin Cashore somehow tied them all up, sort of how the beginning set them all up. Instead they all kind of just taper off and there’s not a solid conclusion for any of them. I don’t mind open endings but I think this was a little TOO open and I would have been super impressed with something closing all of those open doors.

Usually when I’m confused about a book, the more I write about it, the more I realize how disappointed I was but I’m actually finding the opposite with JANE. The more I talk about it, the more fascinated I am and I wouldn’t be opposed to another collection of JANE stories somewhere down the road with even more possibilities. It’s a story with infinite worlds to explore and I’m sure even more things could be touched upon that I haven’t even thought of. I don’t think it’snecessary to know the structure of the book before starting but it did help me understand it more after finishing and helped me appreciate it more. I still would love that one last thing to tie it all together though.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Listening Library has basically been my reading savior this year. With so many candle things to do, I just don’t have time to sit and read anymore and they are so kind as to keep me on their reviewer list for audiobooks. I’ve been listening to one right after the other this year and I was so excited to see JANE, UNLIMITED as one of the options!

I knew I was in good hands with Rebecca Soler as the narrator. If the name sounds familiar, it’s probably because she narrated The Lunar Chronicles audiobooks but personally, I feel like this is her best audiobook performance yet. I think her voices were more distinct in this book than in previous books and her voice and tone just really fit the overall feel of JANE, UNLIMITED.

The audio was probably a little bit harder to follow than the print copy due to the nature of the book but it still totally works and probably isn’t confusing if you don’t go into reads blind like I do!

 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Extremely unique formatting. I love seeing new and unique things not only in YA but anywhere in the literary world. This book cobbled together the different decisions that Jane could have made and it was interesting to see each one of them play out!
Left Me Wanting More: Closure. I didn’t really feel like the ending of the book really closed it off. I guess the point is kind of that the choices really are unlimited… I’d totally be up for another book full of possible endings though!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This was so clever and so unique. The tone was also a LOT of fun with a neat cast of characters, including a house that was a character in itself.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE JANE, UNLIMITED

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

Warcross (Warcross #1) – Marie Lu

Warcross (Warcross #1) – Marie LuTitle: Warcross (Warcross #1) by Marie Lu
Publishing Info: September 12, 2017 by Penguin, Listening Library
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: September 10, 2017
Related Posts: Legend (Legend #1)

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

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WARCROSS is only my second Marie Lu book (I’ve only read LEGEND. I know, how horrible am I? I loved it too…) and I’m so glad I had the chance to get back into her writing! Every since READY PLAYER ONE, I’ve been dying for more video game/virtual reality-type adventures and I know there are others out there but WARCROSS was one that really caught my eye, both because of author and concept.

Either this book was shorter than I thought or time just flew by as I was listening! I listened to the audiobook (thanks, Listening Library!) while I worked and it seemed like this story just flew by, which I guess means that I was really enjoying it! I really enjoyed WARCROSS! It was a fun, futuristic read that reminded me of READY PLAYER ONE meets THE HUNGER GAMES but still in its own original way. I loved the game aspect behind it and I think games within a story really pull me into the action! There were plenty of action-packed moments, especially during the games themselves, which were not at all like Quidditch but reminded me of the action breaks that Harry Potter took to play out a Quidditch game. It brought some fast-paced scenes to the book and added more the the character relationships, meanwhile adding a dash of plot all at the same time. The game sequences also really added to the world-building, showing exactly how Warcross worked and why everyone was so excited for these competitions. It’s essentially like everyone playing sports and then the tournaments featured here are like the Olympics.

I really enjoyed all of the different relationships throughout the book! Emika is kind of a loner to start and as the book progresses, she learns how to work on a team and finally starts to let people back in. She also lets go of her heart a little bit and ends up with an unexpected relationship (or at least more than friends) with a prominent figure in the book and the romance was sweet and exciting all at the same time! I really liked the team aspect and how that really brought Emika in, as much as she didn’t want or expect that, and I always love gangs of characters who might not have otherwise been friends coming together like that.

I’ve only read one Marie Lu book but I feel like she’s good at keeping readers on their toes! One thing I really enjoyed was a nice set of twists that she incorporated into the plot. I totally saw one twist coming and was like, “Oh yeah, predictable…” and then BAM! A totally different twist caught me by surprise. I’m not sure if I was supposed to see the one coming but I definitely appreciate that it threw me off for the other one, thinking I had already caught the “twist”.

The book ended before I knew it and I was so engrossed in the audiobook that I didn’t even realize it was coming to a close! Marie Lu left us on a hell of a cliffhanger which I loved but also whyyyyy! I’m so anxious to read the next book and as much as it sucks to be left on a cliffhanger sometimes, I’m definitely left wanting more as soon as possible!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Gaming books. I’m not a gamer but I actually love reading about virtual reality and gaming-type books. I love the sense of competition and how reality and games meet!
Left Me Wanting More: Oomph. I loved the book but it was missing just a touch that would have pushed it towards the edge for me. I’m not sure what it was, but either way, it was still a great read!!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

What a fun start to a series! I can’t wait to read more, I love where this is going, and this was such a solid beginning.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE WARCROSS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     

InterWorld (InterWorld #1) – Neil Gaiman & Michael Reaves

InterWorld (InterWorld #1) – Neil Gaiman & Michael ReavesTitle: InterWorld (InterWorld #1) by Neil Gaiman, Michael Reaves
Publishing Info: April 29, 2008 by HarperCollins
Source: Library
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Children's & Middle Grade, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: June 5, 2017
Related Posts: Fortunately, the Milk, Stardust, American Gods, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neverwhere

When Newbery Medal winner Neil Gaiman and Emmy Award winner Michael Reaves teamed up, they created the bestselling YA novel InterWorld.

InterWorld tells the story of Joey Harker, a very average kid who discovers that his world is only one of a trillion alternate earths. Some of these earths are ruled by magic. Some are ruled by science. All are at war.

Joey teams up with alternate versions of himself from an array of these worlds. Together, the army of Joeys must battle evil magicians Lord Dogknife and Lady Indigo to keep the balance of power between all the earths stable. Teens—and tweens and adults—who obsessively read the His Dark Materials and Harry Potter series will be riveted by InterWorld and its sequel, The Silver Dream.

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I had heard that this book felt a little young before I started but that was incredibly evident once I started getting into it. The main character is in high school but this read at a middle grade level and really felt quite young. I’ve actually read quite a few better middle grade books and ones that were better-written, which is sad since this is co-authored by Neil Gaiman and I’ve loved everything I’ve read from him (which by now is a a decent amount of his works). I’m not sure what percentage of the co-authoring Neil Gaiman did but I found it hard to really get into this book.

I’m a total sucker for parallel worlds and the like but INTERWORLD got a bit too deep into some strange science-fiction stuff that just ended up being too much for me. There was a lot of technical jargon, including interdimensional creatures (oh, we all know how much I love wacky creatures…) that was hard to keep up with. I felt that the book went way too overboard in introducing some of these concepts, especially since it’s the first book in a series and there would have been so much to build up to.

It’s also very much a blend of sci-fi and fantasy, and I have a bit of trouble combining the two when reading fanta-sci books. Despite the fact that sci-fi is a subgenre of fantasy, they just don’t really blend well for me. It did actually seem better accomplished than in other fanta-sci books that I’ve read but I feel like fanta-sci just allows a bit too much to spiral out of control. You’re allowing belief to be suspended from two different angles instead of just one and as a reader, I have a hard time letting go in two different directions and I wanted things to be a bit more grounded.

I would have loved to see this developed more slowly into a couple different books and not have all of this been in the first book. We could have gotten to know Joey, his family, his friends, and his world more before throwing him into this ability and concept. I could have used some more world-building to allow readers to get a grip on Walking and the InterWorld instead of just being thrown into it and having to catch up like Joey had. It was too much and too confusing, in my opinion.

I knew this one might not be a hit but I definitely won’t be continuing the series. I was hoping it might be just so-so for me and there would be an option to continue but this was a total miss for me. It was a short audiobook so it wasn’t too bad to get through but if it hadn’t been short, I probably wouldn’t have finished. I just really wasn’t interested and the tone was just too young for me, even as an occasional reader of middle grade books.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Fantasci. This was definitely a new step in fanta-sci for me with a mix between fantasy and science-fiction. Sadly, it’s something that I tend to have an issue with as I tend to want a book to be more fantasy or more sci-fi, but it was definitely interesting.
Left Me Wanting More: Maturity. This book just felt young, even more so than most middle grade books I’ve read. I just felt like it was sort of dumbed down and it really didn’t need to be.

Addiction Rating
Skip it

I should have listened to the advice when I was told to skip this one but I just had to know for myself! It wasn’t a very good read for me.

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BOOKS LIKE INTERWORLD

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    THE CITY OF EMBER

Mini-Review: Snapshot – Brandon Sanderson

Mini-Review: Snapshot – Brandon SandersonTitle: Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: February 17, 2017 by Dragonsteel Entertainment
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 19, 2017
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1)

If you could re-create a day, what dark secrets would you uncover?

From New York Times #1 bestselling author Brandon Sanderson comes a detective thriller in a police beat like no other. Anthony Davis and his partner Chaz are the only real people in a city of 20 million, sent there by court order to find out what happened in the real world 10 days ago so that hidden evidence can be brought to light and located in the real city today.

Within the re-created Snapshot of May 1st, Davis and Chaz are the ultimate authorities. Flashing their badges will get them past any obstruction and overrule any civil right of the dupes around them. But the crimes the detectives are sent to investigate seem like drudgery—until they stumble upon the grisly results of a mass killing that the precinct headquarters orders them not to investigate. That’s one order they have to refuse.

The hunt is on. And though the dupes in the replica city have no future once the Snapshot is turned off, that doesn’t mean that both Davis and Chaz will walk out of it alive tonight.

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I love Brandon Sanderson’s novellas and one thing I really enjoy about them is how so many of them (probably most of them) delve into the sci-fi world. Most of his full-length novels are fantasy-based (although STEELHEART was more sci-fi with a dash of superhero and some of his fantasy concepts fit well with scientific explanations). It’s a fun change of pace and a great way to dip into a new world.

SNAPSHOT was a really fun novella! It takes place in the not-too-distant future of 2018 where “Snapshots” have been developed to help a local police branch relive a specific day in order to gain some insight or knowledge on a particular crime. A snapshot is a full recreation of that specific day and the snapshot plays out as the day had originally happened from start to finish. The premise of the story is that Davis and his partner are “IRL” people (as opposed to the recreations in the snapshot) and they go into each scenario to try to gather any information that might give their IRL cops a lead to investigate. The concept was really fun and interesting, constantly trying to wrap my mind around a snapshot and how the interaction of “in real life” people altered the course of the day that was playing back.

Of course it’s Sanderson and I knew a twist was coming but I had no idea what that twist was. I really should have guessed it but I was enjoying my listen to this audiobook so much that I just let myself get lost in the story and didn’t try to figure it out. I really enjoyed the ending and it was a rather interesting finish!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Sanderson sci-fi. I love dabbling into the more sci-fi side of things, which seem to happen more often in Sanderson’s novellas than his full-length novels!
Left Me Wanting More: Surprises. The ending was good and a little twisty but I can always use a few more exciting moments!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

Perfect for Sanderson fans, true to tone, quick, and fun!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE SNAPSHOT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 LOYALTY IN DEATH    ALL OUR YESTERDAYS

Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerve #1) – Marissa Meyer

Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerve #1) – Marissa MeyerTitle: Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerve #1) by Marissa Meyer
Publishing Info: January 31, 2017 by HarperCollins
Genres: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 21, 2017
Related Posts: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1), Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2), , Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5), The Queen's Army (The Lunar Chronicles #1.5), Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky (Lunar Chronicles #3.1), Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1), Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2), Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3), Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4), Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection), Heartless

In her first graphic novel, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestseller Marissa Meyer follows Iko, the beloved android from the Lunar Chronicles, on a dangerous and romantic new adventure -- with a little help from Cinder and the Lunar team.
In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new, action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold. When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers' leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.

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MINI-REVIEW

We all know that my love for The Lunar Chronicles knows no bounds so to have WIRES AND NERVE be my first graphic novel was absolute perfection! I had never read a graphic novel before so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but in true Marissa fashion, it was easy to read, fun, and full of my favorite characters.

I love that this series largely surrounds Iko! It’s a fun way for The Lunar Chronicles to continue on after the fact without really continuing on. This is Iko’s story but we still get to see the series favorites (they’re kind of a big deal now) and it’s so wonderful to see them in new situations! I loved that the tone of this series is much lighter than the original series. Iko is always light-hearted and makes everything more fun but the tone overall adds a bit more humor and a lot more levity.

I read this in one day and it was an easy binge read, even when trying to take my time! I wished I had more to read right away but that’s just me being greedy. It was so great to spend time in this world and have it continue in a way that wasn’t piling too much onto the ending of WINTER.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Graphic Novels. This was my first! It was so much fun and so easy to read. I hadn’t really thought about picking them up before but I loved that this was my introduction and I’d be up for more!
Left Me Wanting More: Plot. There was a definite plot going on here but WIRES AND NERVE is so light that I did wish there was a little bit more substance.

Addiction Rating
Buy it

Did you expect any less from me? It’s so much fun and an exciting way to continue my favorite series!

A post shared by Brittany S. (@bookaddictsguide) on

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE WIRES AND NERVE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    STEELHEART

Time After Time (Time Between Us #2) – Tamara Ireland Stone

Time After Time (Time Between Us #2) – Tamara Ireland StoneTitle: Time After Time (Time Between Us #2) by Tamara Ireland Stone
Publishing Info: October 8, 2013 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Time Travel
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: November 19, 2016
Related Posts: Time Between Us (Time Between Us #1)

Calling Anna and Bennett’s romance long distance is an understatement: she’s from 1995 Chicago and he’s a time traveler from 2012 San Francisco. The two of them never should have met, but they did. They fell in love, even though they knew they shouldn't. And they found a way to stay together, against all odds.
It’s not a perfect arrangement, though, with Bennett unable to stay in the past for more than brief visits, skipping out on big chunks of his present in order to be with Anna in hers. They each are confident that they’ll find a way to make things work...until Bennett witnesses a single event he never should have seen (and certainly never expected to). Will the decisions he makes from that point on cement a future he doesn't want?
Told from Bennett’s point of view, Time After Time will satisfy readers looking for a fresh, exciting, and beautifully-written love story, both those who are eager to find out what’s next for Time Between Us's Anna and Bennett and those discovering their story for the first time.

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I had waiting so long to read TIME AFTER TIME that I think I to a little too disconnected from the series and story line here… I just wasn’t AS interested in this book as I was with the first but it was truly at least three or four years (I think I borrowed someone’s ARC of TIME BETWEEN US) sine I had read the first book so while I really loved TIME BETWEEN US, I didn’t really feel that strong of a connection to TIME AFTER TIME.

That being said, the story was still a lot of fun! I really enjoy Bennett’s POV and I always enjoy a good male POV because I read so many female ones in YA. It’s an interesting change of pace and sometimes it’s nice hear things from the flip side. I couldn’t remember if Anna had a POV in TIME BETWEEN US while I was reading TIME AFTER TIME (she didn’t) but either way, Bennett’s POV was a great and refreshing voice from what I had been reading recently.

I always like the time travel aspect of a story and this was no different. I liked Bennett’s abilities, the rules, and consequences of his traveling. There were even more rules and details in this book and I really enjoyed that there were a few more rules to his ability… But I also didn’t really know who invented these rules. I felt like since it was science-fiction that I was looking for more reason as to why he had this ability but I guess I don’t really need that because I never question it in a fantasy setting!

I really did like the ending a lot! It was a nice way to close everything off because I was wondering what was going to happen there. I was going back and forth for a while thinking I knew what was going to happen and then ended up wondering again. I also think I just read this at a hard point in time because I wasn’t able to focus as much BUT that was also part of the reason why I wanted to read it. I knew it would be nice going back to a series I had already started and a solid romance was what I wanted!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Time Travel Romance. I loved how this romance spanned multiple years… through time! It was really neat to see these two characters connect over different time spans.
Left Me Wanting More: Connection. I needed to do my own time traveling here because I just left in between book one and book two!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This is such an enjoyable duology! I really enjoyed both books — I just wish I hadn’t left so much time in between each one!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE TIME AFTER TIME

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD    LOOP

Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) – Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) – Amie Kaufman, Jay KristoffTitle: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Publishing Info: October 18, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: BEA 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 17, 2016
Related Posts: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.
The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.
Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.
When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.
But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.
Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

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I didn’t used to consider myself a fan of sci-fi, specifically things happening in space, but after ILLUMINAE totally rocked my reading world last year, I knew I couldn’t wait to get my hands on GEMINA. After waiting over three hours in line at BEA for a chance for an ARC (it was totally worth it), I didn’t wait too long to jump into one of my most-anticiapted reads of year, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

Once again, this masterpiece by Aime Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is hard to describe. It’s a book that’s meant to be seen (although I have heard that the audio is quite amazing as well) and it was another amazing visual experience. GEMINA has all of the stunning visuals that ILLUMINAE did plus some gorgeous illustrations from none other than author Marie Lu (although the ARC didn’t have Marie’s illustrations so I had to go back and see them once my finished copy was delivered)! I absolutely love that each book is a true experience and the various forms of story-telling throughout this chronicle really pull a reader in no matter their reading preferences.

I also really enjoyed that GEMINA is a companion to ILLUMINAE. It picks up on the timeline where ILLUMINAE left off and yet readers meet two new characters — Hanna and Nik — and experience the madness and mayhem that ILLUMINAE readers loved but in a brand-new way. The new characters had a fantastic dynamic and featured one of my favorite tropes (hate-to-love). The banter was top-notch and I adored how the dynamic of these two characters really shaped the book. Plus, Amie and Jay had even more unique story-telling concepts, amazing twists for readers (which I didn’t even know was possible), and appearances from characters that were stars of ILLUMINAE!

GEMINA is clever, fun, creative, shocking, twisty, and brilliant. These books are so much fun to read in so many ways and I love how these two authors are constantly reshaping this genre and age range, bringing in new ideas and new readers. I was so impressed with the ending of this book and it bent my mind a little bit but in a totally amazing way. I cannot wait for the next installation in this set of companions! I will be eagerly awaiting, as always.

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Hanna // Character obsessions: Freedom, fun, clothes.
You’re lead to believe Hanna is a bit of a spoiled brat but I LOVE how kickass she turns out to be! Kady had some serious spunk in a rebel sort of way and Hanna is more skilled from enjoying the lessons and spoils of money and connections. I just love her character development and how amazingly her relationship with Nik evolves.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Space. These books are seriously changing my tune on “space books”. i actually adore outer space but I haven’t gotten into any stories that take place there, really. I’m all right with spaceships but I’m just not an alien person so I think I’ve avoided a lot of that. I just love the way these books pull me in!
Left Me Wanting More: Time to read! I just wanted to inhale this book like I had with ILLUMINAE but I didn’t have the time to sit down and keep reading. I totally could have loved it even more (if that’s possible) if I had extra time to really focus.

Addiction Rating
Fall in love with it!

These books are so amazing. I love the originality and it’s so easy for so many readers to fall in love with them.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE GEMINA

(Click the cover to see my review!)

armada    Steelheart

The Darkest Corners – Kara Thomas

The Darkest Corners – Kara ThomasTitle: The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
Publishing Info: April 20, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery/Thriller, Thriller
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 20, 2016
Related Posts: Little Monsters

The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.
There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.
Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.
Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.
But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.
Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

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I’m pretty big on mysteries and thrillers so when I saw all of the buzz on THE DARKEST CORNERS, I knew I had to read it! I ended up making it my next read when I received an audio copy to review from The Listening Library! There was so much buzz on this being the next big thriller that I was both excited and hesitant as I dove in! It’s always hard when there’s a lot of hype for a book but whatever the outcome, I was definitely curious.

I liked Tessa right off the bat. Not in a conventional way but I appreciated what she was going through and I thought that although I wasn’t really ever in her shoes, she had an interesting story and I could appreciate the decisions that she was making, however hard. I liked that her character remained in a sort of gray area. She was always a character I was rooting for to succeed in solving a mystery and find peace but I was always unsure whether she really was somehow involved in the happenings in Fayette and then later in the story, exactly how she affected the turn of events. She wasn’t quite an unreliable narrator but there were definitely pieces of her story and reactions towards other people that had me questioning whether she was totally innocent or what really was lying further underneath the surface.

There is a lot more to THE DARKEST CORNERS than meets the eye. I won’t give anything away, of course, but like any good mystery/thriller, there are some interesting reveals at the end that really bring the book into a different light and I had that moment where I go back and re-look at everything with the new-found information. It wasn’t something that totally shocked me but it was an interesting twist! A small issue I had with the book was that there were pieces of it that added to the mystery but didn’t quite seem totally relevant to the overall picture. The mystery was one piece and the thrill was another piece and they did overlap but it wasn’t quite that click where they both fit together so satisfyingly! It was still quite enjoyable but I would have loved for everything to really come full circle and totally connect in every way… But I do realize that things don’t always work out like that! That’s more of a personal preference that a critique.

THE DARKEST CORNERS was entertaining and yet not quite as thrilling as I had hoped it would be. It’s so hard to live up to a large amount of hype (which there was for this book) but I’d love to read more from Kara Thomas and I’d be excited to see if she has any other thrillers in store for readers!

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Source: Review copy obtained from Listening Library/Penguin Random House Audio
Narrator: Jorjeana Marie
Performance: Good. Not a favorite narrator but one I’d listen to on multiple occasions. I don’t think I’d seek her out but I’d still be drawn to books she narrates.

I like Jorjeana Marie! I’m actually listening to another book she narrates right now and I love how differently she’s portraying the two characters (this being a mystery and new book being a contemporary). Her narration didn’t bowl me over but it was entertaining from start to finish. I feel like I could have used a little more personality from her but I like her voice and it’s quite pleasant to listen to. I think it’s realistic as a teen voice and still maintains a maturity as well.
view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Small town thrillers. I don’t know why but I love the feel of small town thrillers. I guess it’s more twisty and interesting when people you actually know could be involved versus just strangers!
Left Me Wanting More: Twists. I’m greedy. I love twisty twists. It’s so hard to read thrillers sometimes because I’ve read some damn good twists and I never know if I want something that’s straight-forward or if I want to be totally surprised. There’s not a ton that you can do to really surprise a reader, especially if they’ve read so many books in the same genre!

Addiction Rating
Read it

I really enjoyed THE DARKEST CORNERS! It wasn’t a total shock at the end but there were some definitely interesting twists and it was an enjoyable read from start to finish!

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BOOKS LIKE THE DARKEST CORNERS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE DEVIL YOU KNOW    VANISHING GIRLS

Nil on Fire (Nil #3) – Lynne Matson

Nil on Fire (Nil #3) – Lynne MatsonTitle: Nil on Fire (Nil #3) by Lynne Matson
Publishing Info: May 31, 2016 by Macmillan
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: April 18, 2016
Related Posts: Nil (Nil #1), Nil Unlocked (Nil #2)

Despite Rives and Skye's attempt to destroy Nil, the island remains. And back in this world, Nil won't let Skye go. Haunted by a darkness she can't ignore, Skye wrestles with Nil nightmares that worsen by the day and threaten to tear her apart. As Skye fights to keep her mind intact, she realizes that to finally break free of Nil, she must end Nil's vicious cycle once and for all--and she can't do it alone.
Who will return to Nil, and in the end, who will survive? In this thrilling final installment of the Nil series, the stakes have never been higher: everyone's fate hangs in the balance, including Nil's own--and Nil will fight to the death. When the full force of the island is unleashed, Skye faces an impossible choice, a cruel one she'd never imagined she'd have to make. Soon one Nil truth becomes painfully clear: only one side can win.
Losing isn't an option, but winning will cost Skye everything.

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I’ve been a big fan of the NIL books since the very first book came out and I totally got those Lost vibes from it! The series has continued to be so much fun, complete with a creepy island, tough teens, and a neat kind of science-fiction that doesn’t rely so much on technology. NIL ON FIRE completed the trilogy and I was lucky enough to read it a little bit early thanks to a review copy from Macmillan!

I will admit — NIL ON FIRE started off a little bit slow for me. One (personal) problem that I had was that I read each book as an advance review copy, meaning I read them before they came out and that put so much time in between each book. I really did enjoy each one but it seemed like the further I got into the series, the harder it became to jump back in without a refresher! Again, a personal issue but if it’s been a while for you, it might be best to peek back into previous books to remind yourself about characters and the last events!

The other issue I had when starting NIL ON FIRE is that it felt like a long time before the action really started to pick up. My thoughts on the progression are kind of spoilery so this may be a big vague when I say that I felt like I was waiting kind of a long time for everything to really start coming together and to move past the introductory part of this book. There was a lot of time spent with feelings and intuitions but I would have loved to see the story move forward as all of that was going on and I felt like it was just standing still for a bit too long. Some of that could have easily been cut down and brought the readers back into the fast-paced excitement!

After those minor speed bumps, the rest of the book was fun and curious in true NIL fashion! I did find myself still missing more of the spotlight on Charley and Thad but I really grew to love Rives quite a bit over the last two books! Skye had a lot of spunk but she wasn’t my favorite character so I wasn’t quite as interested in her chapters of the book. The supporting cast of characters remained fantastic! I love the diversity with Nil-connected characters from all over and I really just love seeing a new team of people coming to work together.

NIL ON FIRE is the final book in the series so it was exciting to really see everything come to a close! It was interesting to see the sort of battle against Nil as the island really came into play (it even had its own POV!) and how the characters went up against it once and for all. The ending was satisfying and exciting and I still have such a fond place in my heart for these books! I think the first book is still my favorite of the series but I think it’s solid all around and one I’ll continue to recommend!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Unique sci-fi. Sometimes I get a little tired of so much sci-fi being tech or space-related. I liked that this was a little something different! It does have a sort of paranormal aspect too (I guess? Magical realism? Not sure what to call Nil’s involvement) but there it’s definitely refreshing to read something outside the box!
Left Me Wanting More: Action. I felt like the beginning was lacking a little action for me. There was a lot of dwelling on hunches and feelings and it took me a little while to get into the story.

Addiction Rating
Read it

This is a series I’ll continue to recommend. The books are a lot of fun and I love all the time on Nil! (As scary as it is)

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BOOKS LIKE NIL ON FIRE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

TRIAL BY FIRE    UNDER THE NEVER SKY

Calamity (The Reckoners #3) – Brandon Sanderson

Calamity (The Reckoners #3) – Brandon SandersonTitle: Calamity (The Reckoners #3) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: February 16, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audible
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Superheroes
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: February 25, 2016
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot

When Calamity lit up the sky, the Epics were born. David’s fate has been tied to their villainy ever since that historic night. Steelheart killed his father. Firefight stole his heart. And now Regalia has turned his closest ally into a dangerous enemy.
David knew Prof’s secret, and kept it even when Prof struggled to control the effects of his Epic powers. But facing Obliteration in Babilar was too much. Once the Reckoners’ leader, Prof has now embraced his Epic destiny. He’s disappeared into those murky shadows of menace Epics are infamous for the world over, and everyone knows there’s no turning back...
But everyone is wrong. Redemption is possible for Epics—Megan proved it. They’re not lost. Not completely. And David is just about crazy enough to face down the most powerful High Epic of all to get his friend back. Or die trying.

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Brandon Sanderson is one of my favorite authors and after I binge read STEELHEART, FIREFIGHT, and even the MITOSIS novella, the wait for CALAMITY was rough! I wasn’t used to waiting for a new Sanderson book (I have a tendency to binge them since I just can’t get enough!) so I was incredibly excited for the conclusion to this fun and smart YA series!

CALAMITY brought some of my favorite characters back! I adore David Charleston and he’s just so much fun. Even when things look bleak, he’s still got bad metaphors (well, actually similes) to cheer everyone up and he always seems to be quite positive about everything. I loved the tone that he brought to this series and how things always stayed humorous even in the darkest of times. The Reckoners crew is so much fun too. I still wasn’t as attached to new-comer (well, new in FIREFIGHT) Mizzy but I think that’s just because I have a hard time adjusting to new characters becoming a part of the main crew. I was really glad that more of Megan’s powers were explored and that CALAMITY really dug deeper into how they worked and why.

CALAMITY was much more action-packed and fast-paced than the first two books. I think STEELHEART and FIREFIGHT still had quite a bit of action but CALAMITY seemed to be more focused on this final show-down between the Reckoners and the Epics than the first two installments. I did miss the classic Sanderson world-building and details in this book and it was fairly noticeable for me as I was reading. I’m so used to layers upon layers of details or clues being built into the book and then it all coming together in the end. Everything did still wrap up nicely but I was hoping that there would be just a touch more explanation and detail about Calamity (the Epic) and the formation of everyone’s powers. The answers were there but I was so hungry for more world-building! Maybe previous books have spoiled me since the Mistborn books are insanely detailed worlds.

I really did feel a bit disappointed in the ending. I really liked where it was going, leading up to the answers of who/what/where Calamity is and why. I was just hoping for a bit more explanation once we got there. Sanderson is usually so good at pulling everything together and in such a stunning way and here I felt like things were not as carefully planned. The basic questions were answered but I still wanted to know so much more. We find out where Calamity is (other than burning out somewhere in the sky) but I still didn’t know where Calamity came from. We find out why the powers on Earth came to be but I still wasn’t quite sure why the motive to install them there (so to speak. Trying to word carefully to avoid spoilers!) was important. I feel like once the answers were provided, there needed to be even one MORE layer of world-building after that and I felt like the book didn’t quite go that ONE step further to really give a conclusion that closed all of the open doors.

The book was enjoyable from start to finish and it never had a lull for me. The pacing was great, always moving things forward even when I didn’t know where they were going. I do still feel that small ping of disappointment though thinking how everything wrapped up. I’ve just become accustomed to Sanderson’s writing and how he crafted the Mistborn series (I have yet to read other series) and so I think my expectations were a little high for this conclusion. It was absolutely still a fun read but I did feel like there were still a few more loose ends that could have been tied.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

So, I ended up with a manuscript of CALAMITY (since there were no ARCs) and I started it but I also ended up waiting for the audiobook because that is how much I love MacLeod Andrews. I’ve reviewed his narration many, many times since I end up picking audiobooks specifically because he narrates them but I will reiterate how much I do love his voices. Males voicing females is always hard but no matter if it was David, Megan, Mizzy, Cody — each voice really felt individual and realistic. It’s more about the way that he forms a voice for a character even more than just choosing how their voice might sound. He adds so much character to each person and it really makes them come alive in the books. Obliteration was more nasal, Cody had a slight Southern accent, Abraham’s French-Canadian accent was fantastic — MacLeod Andrews really puts all those details in to each character. I also love when he adds human actions instead of just saying things like sniffles or gasps or sneezes. Those elements are also performed sometimes to really bring an extra layer of acting to the audiobook. I just love his performances and I’ll be picking up many, many more books narrated by him in the future.

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

calamity gr updates

 

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Kept Me Hooked On: Superheroes. I really haven’t read many books with a superhero twist. Most “power” books I’ve read end up being fantasy so it was so much fun to see this as more of a sci-fi/superhero aspect!
Left Me Wanting More: Explanation. Sanderson is usually so incredibly amazing at typing up all loose ends and even going further with conclusions than I expect. CALAMITY disappointed me just a bit in that sense and although we did get answers, I wanted just a bit more info.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I still love this series and think it’s definitely worth the read! If you’re a bit Sanderson fan (or not) you’ll still have a lot of fun with it. I’m curious to see how non-Sanderson fans (those who haven’t read his other series) feel about the conclusion. I’m wondering if maybe I was expecting too much or hyped it up too much for myself…?

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE CALAMITY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

BURNING MIDNIGHT    VICIOUS