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Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) – Richelle Mead

 

Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) – Richelle MeadTitle: Gameboard of the Gods (Age of X #1) by Richelle Mead
Publishing Info: June 4, 2013 by Penguin
Source: Edelweiss
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Mythology, Mystery/Thriller, Dystopian
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 11, 2014
Related Posts: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2), Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3), Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4), Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5), Bloodlines (Bloodlines #1), The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2), The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3), Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6), The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1)

In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.
When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.
Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of X series, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.

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GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS is a little bit of everything… Part dystopian/speculative fiction, part paranormal, and part romance. This was the first adult book I’ve read from Richelle Mead so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but I really had a lot of fun with the book although it wasn’t entirely what I was picturing. The book takes place in a speculative future world so I was anticipating more dystopian elements, but the paranormal and mythology-based aspects played a much larger part than I originally thought. My overall view felt more like a futuristic mystery with a touch of a DaVinci Code feel!

It actually took me a little while to get into the book because I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Instead of diving into a concept head first, I had to feel it out a lot more. Since the only books from Richelle Mead I’m familiar with are the Vampire Academy series and its spin-off Bloodlines, it was a bit of a personal adjustment to fall into a new world with new characters who were totally unrelated. Not that it was a bad thing, but after reading nine books with the same theme and characters, it’s an adjustment nonetheless! Once I finally hit my stride, I was really starting to enjoy everything!

One thing that really appealed to me was the mystery of the book. I’m a mystery girl at heart so it was almost reminiscent of J.D. Robb’s In Death series for me — a futuristic world, a good romance, and a good mystery! I think if I had known the mystery was going to be so prominent, I might have fallen into the book easier but it definitely helped rope me in! It was very well put together too. I felt like I was getting plenty of clues along the way, but not enough that it was giving away the whole ending. Looking back once I finished, it was interesting to see how things had always fit together, even when I hadn’t known they were!

Another thing that really brought the book together for me was the characters. I loved the dynamic between Mae and Justin. I wanted them to get together and at the same time, I loved Mae’s constant refusal of his advances. It was a great back and forth and despite the fact that Justin probably annoyed Mae a lot, they worked together really well. The supporting characters were great as well! Each one had their own unique personality and played important roles to the story. I never felt like anyone was irrelevant and I just got such a realistic feel from each one of them!

The only minor complaint I really had was that I wished the book had started out a little quicker in the beginning. Since I wasn’t entirely sure where it was going, I was a little lost in the beginning with who Justin and Mae were supposed to be and what their purpose was. Once I got into the groove of the book, things really started to come together and take off. The ending was great and I really loved how it set everything up for the next book, which I’m excited to get to shortly!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a new 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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It took me a while to get into, but I enjoyed the book overall! I think the end really helped wrap everything up and gave me a better overall feeling. 

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Mae // Character Obsessions: The fight, her country, her duty.
Mae was feisty! I really liked her character and I’m also so glad we got to know more about her past and how it really came into play with the overall plot of the book. She was very complex and she didn’t often react based on emotions and yet, they still affected her a lot. It was very interesting!
Justin // Character Obsessions: Intelligence, solving mysteries, citizenship.
I liked Justin a lot! He was always making me laugh and I love when intelligence and humor come together. I think he was my favorite character! He had a lot of heart and somehow a mix of determination and laziness. He was kind of all over the place but in a good way! Definitely a lot of fun, though!

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Kept Me Hooked On: The world. I love a story that has a dystopian US/North America. I wanted to learn all about the new world that Richelle Mead had created and almost wished there was some kind of Wikipedia page! I actually may go look now… I need to learn more about it!
Left Me Wanting More: Focus. As a person who goes into books blind, it was a little difficult to figure out what the point of the book was in the very beginning and I felt like it was a little bit slow to start. BUT! Things were set up for book two and I feel like that won’t be an issue in the future!

Addiction Rating
Try it

This book may not be for everyone, but I ended up really enjoying it! It was a nice mix of genres and if you like mysteries, this is a good one to jump into! So happy to see that element there!

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(Click the cover to see my review!)

        Conspiracy In Death       First Grave on the Right

Vicious (Vicious #1) – V.E. Schwab

Vicious (Vicious #1) – V.E. SchwabTitle: Vicious (Vicious #1) by V.E. Schwab, Victoria Schwab
Publishing Info: September 24, 2013 by Macmillan
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 22, 2014
Related Posts: , A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1), A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2), A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3), , This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1), Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2)

    Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end? 
In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

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I had heard so many good things about VICIOUS before I had finally gotten around to it for our group read with On the Same Page. I actually didn’t quite know what it was about due to my penchant for going into books blind, but I did know that it was something along the lines of science mixed with superheroes. I mean honestly, how can you say no to that? It’s always a bit nerve-wracking to go into a book that so many people LOVED, but clearly I had nothing to fear here!

VICIOUS was actually my first Schwab book and I somehow started with her adult book before I read her YAs — seems a bit out of order for me, but there you have it — so I actually wasn’t familiar with her writing at all beforehand. I felt like the book really flowed well, from character to character as well as from scene to scene. There are moments when the book jumps from present day, back to ten years ago, and even hopping around from time to time, but I really never felt lost or confused. I actually really enjoyed following this non-chronological way of story telling because I got exactly the story I needed at exactly the right times. If told chronologically, there wouldn’t have been nearly enough suspense or too many details all at once.

The story line of the EOs (Extraordinary [humans]) was fantastic. If you were a fan of the TV show Heroes, it had very much of the same vibe, except there are a few interesting twists to the “superhero” concept which also brought quite the darker tone to the novel. I won’t go divulging what those little twists really are (although the synopsis touches on it) because I like to let the reader experience that journey of discovery themselves, much like the characters did. I really loved the idea of how each EO obtained their powers and how their power directly related to their specific situation. It was incredibly fascinating and the way science, research, and Victor and Eli’s thesis papers all tied in was truly interesting and I was totally captivated the whole time.

I love the tale of revenge in this story. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Victor and Eli, formerly best friends, are now mortal enemies and Victor is hell bent on getting his revenge against Eli and ending their connection once and for all. I really, really loved seeing Victor as this antihero. I just love a good antihero. I was totally rooting for him, pretty much at all costs, and I really felt a lot of sympathy for him. I also loved that Victor, aside from his relationship with Eli, had his own unique and interesting relationships with each of the secondary characters in the book (specifically loved this post that Amy wrote for our On the Same Page feature of this book)! The relationships created in this book are just so interesting and each one is complicated and yet delicate.

VICIOUS was a tale of revenge, intrigue, adventure, and brought up several issues of morality and faith. I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it and I’m so glad the hype I’d seen from my fellow reviewers hadn’t affected the outcome for me at all! The mash-up of supernatural and science was excellent and VICIOUS was definitely a fantastic read for me!

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Victor // Character Obsessions: Revenge, taking care of Sydney, recruiting EOs.
Ooooh, I loved Victor. I always root for an antihero, I think. I loved his quest, his motivation, and everything he went through with Eli. It was really interesting to see his history as well as his present-day situation. I loved reading about his journey and it was really interesting to see how different he and Eli were and how their differences split them apart.
Eli // Character Obsessions: EOs, God, doing the “right” thing.
Eli was an interesting sort of human being. (More than a human being?) He ended up going through a MAJOR internal struggle until he found a path he felt was right for him — a path of justice. A path of righteousness. And yet, who’s to say what he feels is right really is the right thing? I found him incredibly interesting, although a bit annoying at times… But I understood his reasons for his actions, even if they were ridiculous reasons at that.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Superheroes. The EOs in this book aren’t exactly like superheroes, but this book reminded me so much of the TV show Heroes and I just really, really loved it!
Left Me Wanting More: Adventure + science. This book really wasn’t short on adventure or action or science, but I just loved every bit of it! I just want so much more! (Greedy, I know.)

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

I loved this one. VICIOUS was such a “me” book and I loved all of the elements that V.E. Schwab put into this book!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE VICIOUS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        How to Lead a Life of Crime        Pivot Point

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas AdamsTitle: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Publishing Info: December 18, 2007 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Bundles of Books
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 19, 2012

    Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.
    Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide ("A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have") and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox--the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod's girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years

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This was my attempt to venture slightly out into the world of sci-fi… I’m not a big science-fiction fan. I really appreciate and am interested in the conceptions behind the genre, but most of the hard-core science fiction books are usually just a little too out there for me, and I’m not a fan of stories based on aliens.

That being said, I really enjoyed this book! It’s a little bit sci-fi, a LOT quirky, and extremely imaginative. I was very impressed with the creativity of Douglas Adams for all of his other worlds, different creatures, and strange technology out in the universe that lowly Earth has no idea about. I’m always fascinated with space and the universe because although I’m not a fan of alien stories, you’ve got to believe that something else is out there, even if we can’t reach it. Well, at least I do, to a certain extent.

Anyway, the creativity is astounding, so much so that it was over my head a lot of the time. This guy is either a genius or he’s totally nuts… Or maybe both. But in a way that it puts together such an enjoyable novel that I’m surprised I hadn’t read it sooner. I think it’s really enjoyable for everyone, as long as you can follow the zips through the universe that the story is taking you on. The second book is on my to-read list and I look forward to it!

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As a person who isn’t a fan of sci-fi, I’m a fan of this book. It’s mild enough and filled with comedy and satire so that the story itself isn’t overly intense since we’re dealing with such an intense think as exploring the rest of the universe. I’d definitely recommend trying it, even if you’re a little skeptical – I think it really might surprise those people who aren’t fans of science fiction or fantasy (think of it more as a comedy)!

If You Liked This, You Might Like…
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle — It’s another classic, but okay, so this one’s a children’s book. Want to know a secret? I never read this as a child. I read it just a couple months ago and still so enjoyable. Something that really transcends the generations. It’s another story about a simple earthling who gets whipped up into space, forced to make sense of everything in the different worlds in the universe. It doesn’t have the comedy like Hitchhiker’s does – more of a serious reflection on the galaxy and science. Very advanced thinking for a children’s book!
…OR…
The Time Machine by HG Wells — Again, doesn’t have the comedy tie-in, and although we never leave Earth on this one, still quite the creative process in creating another world simply with the advancement of time – Not to mention how wildly advanced this book was for its time. Just a quick read, but definitely worth the journey!