Archives

These Broken Stars (These Broken Stars #1) – Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars (These Broken Stars #1) – Amie Kaufman & Meagan SpoonerTitle: These Broken Stars (These Broken Stars #1) by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Publishing Info: December 10, 2013 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Date Completed: February 28, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1), Gemina (The Illuminae Files #1), Unearthed (Unearthed #1)

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

bookreview1

This one didn’t really do it for me. I wonder if it’s in part because of the audiobook narrators? Lilac’s narrator was not very good — over dramatic and she couldn’t just SAY anything. It was always a whine or an exclamation or drawn out. But I also know that my favorite narrators can voice things that I don’t like and I still wouldn’t be hooked.

I sort of worked my way backwards here, obviously being a huge fan of the Illuminae Files and then reading UNEARTHED this year so I was like well, I better go back and read THESE BROKEN STARS to read more of Amie’s works. I knew it had received a lot of five star reviews and I can’t remember who I had talked to who was frustrated with it but I remember our conversation and didn’t think I was going to read it anyway. I’m not upset that I read it but it also wasn’t really something of interest for me.

Obviously this came first but it did feel like ILLUMINAE meets UNEARTHED (which makes sense since Amie is the author of all of those) but this book just didn’t have that hook that really grabbed me. I really wanted to love it but I didn’t really feel connected to it at any point in time. I liked Tarver. I did not like Lilac, but she was okay. The romance was a little too overdone and I just don’t feel like a whole lot happened throughout the book. I wanted so much more exploring and less just traveling. There was so much to explore in a BRAND NEW WORLD/PLANET and yet there wasn’t that much revealed about it except for the fact that Lilac and Tarver appeared to be alone there.

It sort of had a Lost vibe at the end which…. was kind of eyeroll-inducing. I guess I do want to see what else happens here and I know that this series is sort of a collection of companions, so I’m excited to see what the next group of characters have in store for readers and how it connects to the Lilac and Tarver story.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Foreign planets. It was very cool to see more of space, planets we don’t even know, and all of that cool sci-fi stuff that I love exploring, even if it is fictional!
Left Me Wanting More: Of a little of everything. I didn’t love the romance or the plot or the pacing BUT I think this will get better as the series goes on. I hope?

Addiction Rating
Try it

I didn’t LOVE it but it was definitely interesting! I’m actually more interested to see where the rest of the series goes and how everything connects!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THESE BROKEN STARS

          

Unearthed (Unearthed #1) – Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Unearthed (Unearthed #1) – Amie Kaufman & Meagan SpoonerTitle: Unearthed (Unearthed #1) by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Publishing Info: January 9, 2018 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: January 9, 2018
Related Posts: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1), Gemina (The Illuminae Files #1), These Broken Stars (These Broken Stars #1)

When Earth intercepts a message from a long-extinct alien race, it seems like the solution the planet has been waiting for. The Undying's advanced technology has the potential to undo environmental damage and turn lives around, and Gaia, their former home planet, is a treasure trove waiting to be uncovered.

For Jules Addison and his fellow scholars, the discovery of an alien culture offers unprecedented opportunity for study... as long as scavengers like Amelia Radcliffe don't loot everything first. Mia and Jules' different reasons for smuggling themselves onto Gaia put them immediately at odds, but after escaping a dangerous confrontation with other scavvers, they form a fragile alliance.

In order to penetrate the Undying temple and reach the tech and information hidden within, the two must decode the ancient race's secrets and survive their traps. But the more they learn about the Undying, the more their presence in the temple seems to be part of a grand design that could spell the end of the human race...

bookreview1

First, let me say… I was NOT ready for that ending! I wasn’t paying attention to how much was left in the audiobook and I was so surprised and shocked and… well, you should have heard the string of curses I shouted in my car when I found out that was how this book ended! It’s been a long time since I’ve had such a reaction to a book so that was pretty awesome, actually. The ending definitely launched some more feelings that has me wanting to rate this a little bit higher, but there were also parts that I just didn’t click with as much. I DO think that’s because of my lack of focus, though, so I can’t fault the book for that.

I loved both Jules and Mia (Mia more) and I liked how the girl was the tough one and the guy was the academic. I didn’t quiiiite pick up on their chemistry but I didn’t not feel it either (if that makes any sense at all). I wasn’t super shipping them but I enjoyed their connection, and you know I like anything where there’s banter or a sort of hate-to-love concept, so that worked for me!

The world-building was awesome. I don’t always do aliens (which is also why I didn’t read THESE BROKEN STARS, which apparently now I have to) but certain authors are totally nailing that and making me enjoy things that I didn’t think I liked. The concept behind this book was super interesting and I loved how things are constantly discovered and how everything evolves throughout the book. I’m sure a lot of people saw what was coming but again, that’s kind of the glory of listening to audiobooks while I work — I’m listening to the story but I’m not thinking ahead because my brain is already multi-tasking, so I’m often super surprised by plot twists and crazy developments, and UNEARTHED? You totally got me. I had chills. I shouted! I was stunned. There were a lot of super awesome moments in this book that had me reacting which aside from rage at “bad” things in books, I haven’t done in a long time.

This is an awesome adventure book. It’s pitched as Indiana Jones meets Lara Croft in space. I don’t know Lara Croft but Indiana Jones is definitely a good comparison. It’s part treasure-hunting, a lot of history, and a whole lot of adventure, and I really enjoyed the pacing from start to finish. There were a couple of slow-ish spots right after the beginning when things are getting set up, but I connected to the characters and this world pretty quickly.

I really enjoyed this book and I’m SO happy to have found a book that evoked feelings from me that wasn’t a re-read, and feelings that weren’t just rage. For that alone, it deserves quite a bit of praise because I’ve had a hard time finding a book that does that to me, for really almost a year now (I had very few 4.5 – 5 star reads last year) and DUUUUDE do I really have to wait for the next book?!? UGHHH. I need it now. I need it yesterday. I need it before I had even finished this one.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Aliens. I’m not an alien book type person but this was done SO well. It almost had more a historical/world-building concept rather than just alien invasion.
Left Me Wanting More: Spark. I really did love almost everything but I wish I had FELT that spark more between Jules and Mia!

Addiction Rating
Read it

This was soooo enjoyable and I had so much fun reading it! I had a couple of slower spots but really, it was so solid all-around.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE UNEARTHED

          

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), Unearthed (Unearthed #1), These Broken Stars (These Broken Stars #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.

bookreview1

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.

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!

screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-4-10-58-pm

photo_shoot_edited-3


 

character_breakdown1

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.

addiction_factor1

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

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) – Amie Kaufman & Jay KristoffTitle: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Publishing Info: October 20, 2015 by Source: ALAMW15, BEA 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 9, 2015
Related Posts: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #1), Unearthed (Unearthed #1), These Broken Stars (These Broken Stars #1)

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.

bookreview1

The hype for ILLUMINAE was already huge several months before the book came out so by the time I got around to reading it (you know… still three months before its release date), it was already a pretty intimidating book from all of the reactions, not to mention the fact that the ARC was pretty honkin’ big. ILLUMINAE (in advanced copy form) clocked in at about 600 pages and taking on that brick (and I mean that extremely lovingly) was a bit scary, especially when it’s right smack in prime sci-fi territory: future and space. Thankfully, I had absolutely nothing to fear because I simply couldn’t put ILLUMINAE down and it may be one of the best books I’ve read this year. 

How to review a book like ILLUMINAE… well, let’s start with the formatting. The book is exactly what the series title implies: a collection of files. From transcripts of interviews to video surveillance reports to emails to data pulled directly from the ship, ILLUMINAE tells the story of Kady and Ezra — two teens attempting to survive and reunite once an attack on their planet evacuates their community into space. At first I wasn’t sure how I would handle the formatting but not only was it not detrimental to my reading experience but it enhanced it exponentially. It was so interesting to pick up the full story from all of these forms of files and it was incredibly creative! I loved how different it felt and the representation of so many different forms really brought the world to life even more. I was fully submerged into The Illuminae Files and didn’t want to be yanked out of that world once I got into it.

The formatting also heightened the level of emotion for me. I think there were a few factors contributing to this, one of which is being able to read direct dialogue in emails and chat sessions. There’s no “he said” or “she said” or extra helpful information within a paragraph that sometimes takes away from being the moment of emotion or action. The action sequences were more contained within reports from outside observers so the reader is able to witness action in a different way as well. I really think these methods of capturing and presenting information allowed me to stay in the moment and not have to read a lot of descriptors which can sometimes cause my minder to start thinking more about the structure again and stray from the emotional side.
The other main factor was that the formatting was just so visually appealing. The files presented to the reader came complete with headers, logos, different fonts, pictures, strains, wrinkles, and more. Other pages were structured to represent how a machine was working, a pilot’s flight path, or a character’s journey. Then there were some pages that only had one or two words on it to really drive a point or emotion home to the readers. It was so exciting to see something so different and that visual representation really added another layer to the book!

Aside from the help from the formatting, the story really was just so good. It took me a little while to establish the characters and get to know them but once I did (and it really didn’t take that long), I felt like I knew them inside and out. I grew very attached to them and really felt like I took this journey with them. The plot and storytelling were also incredible. The suspense was constantly building, emotions high, action going, and there were quite a few twists that totally took me by surprise! 

I feel like I could go on and on about ILLUMINAE but the bottom line is that you don’t want miss this book. It’s totally worth all of the hype and buzz it’s received and I think a lot of people will be stunned by it! I’m a BIT sad that I read it so early because now I need to wait a very long while for book two… But you can bet I’ll be inhaling the rest of this series!

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!

Untitled

character_breakdown1

Kady // Character Obsessions: Family, survival, hacking, Ezra.
I didn’t quite know what to expect from Kady at first but I ended up LOVING her. She was such a spitfire and always willing to take on a challenge, especially to help the people she loves. Kady was so much fun to get to know and she really just came to life in this book.
Ezra // Character Obsessions: Romance, compliance, Kady, survival.
Ezra was kind of the softer side to Kady. He was a bit more romantic than Kady and seemed to be much more on the emotional side. I loved the balance he brought to the story and the side he brought out of Kady!

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Epic space adventures. This is another time where I’m like, “Remind me again why I was avoiding this?” ILLUMINAE opened me up to a little more sci-fi and adventures in outer space.
Left Me Wanting More: Focus… but rarely! The ONLY thing I could possibly say about this book that I didn’t 100% enjoy was that there were a few times when I got distracted because of formatting. But almost all of the time it enhanced my reading experience, but honestly that’s so nit-picky because this book was phenomenal.

Addiction Rating
BUY IT!

I loved ILLUMINAE. I think this may be a book that I’ll end up collecting because so far I can’t bear to part with the two differently formatted ARCs that I have and I know I need a finished copy too… You’ll want this one for yourself!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE ILLUMINAE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

THE 5TH WAVE     ARMADA