Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Waitign on Wednesday (235)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.

This week I am waiting on:  This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter  (2/27/2018):
Description from Goodreads:
A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?

Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.

Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living, took more courage than dying?

This Heart of Mine is a haunting, poignant tale about living and dying, surviving grief, guilt, and heartache, while discovering love and hope in the midst of sadness.
Why I’m Waiting:
This sounds amazing, in a weird Lifetime Original Movie type of way. I love stories that involve heart transplants. There’s just something believably magical about thinking that there’s a piece of the old person that goes into the new. I also absolutely love this author. I’ve read all of her other books. She knows how to write romance so well. And this one sounds so completely different from all of her other ones. I can’t wait to read something so new by her, but I also expect some sizzling romance here too.
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Summary from Goodreads:
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.
So, I have serious mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I love Kristin Cashore, and there is not a single doubt in my mind that she is an excellent writer. Her writing is beautiful. And she successfully changes voice, writing style, and genre five times through out this book.  On the other hand, I found the pacing to be painstakingly slow, the characters boring, and the whole thing extraordinarily repetitive (my least favorite characteristic in a book).
The book starts with the main character recovering from the loss of her guardian. Her guardian made her promise to go to Tu Reviens if she was ever invited. And an old friend/tutor shows up and invites her. From there on, Jane makes a lot of artistic umbrellas, walks a lot of gothic hallways, explores an exceptionally strange mansion, and meets new friends.
At one point, Jane has to make up her mind about which direction to go in following the breadcrumbs of a mystery. It’s a bit like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure story in that respect. Jane goes one way, which leads her down an art theft mystery story. And right when everything concludes, the reader is taken back to that point where she has to make up her mind. She goes a different way, and then comes a spy/thriller story. That story concludes, and it all goes back to that one moment again, and then Jane experiences a horror story. This happens 5 times with 5 different genres of story. You don’t choose your adventure; you have to experience all 5.
As a writer and a creative thinker, I appreciate all the work and fun this author must have had in making this novel. There are little Eggs about parallel universes, other versions of oneself, etc in each story. You have to read each story to have the following story make more sense. However, it gets so repetitive. Having to watch the same scene with the same character freak out about a piece of art was highly annoying. I got bored with the similarities. At first it was kind of fun, searching for the similarities while experiencing something new. But, after this repeats a couple of times, I got rather frustrated.
There was a weird number of Winnie the Pooh references. At first I loved this because I’m a children’s librarian, but then even that got annoying. Some parts of the plot were just not comparable to Pooh and Piglet, and it felt like the author was stretching things to make things work sometimes. Some of the stories really were so far fetched. For some reason, the sci-fi one felt more believable than the horror one, which was just plain weird. They all had a weirdness to them, but that one was like the others mixed with a healthy dose of Lewis Carroll on drugs.
I wanted to love this one. I loved this author’s other work. I love the diverse cast. I love the concept of this book –a book that redefines genre. But, it’s super thick, confusing, and slow. I found some of the side characters kind of interesting, but none of them were flushed out enough in any of the stories for me to genuinely care about them. And Jane just felt too normal (minus the umbrella thing). I kept wanting to like her, but like the book, I couldn’t really.
So, I guess, all in all, power to Kristin Cashore for doing something different. It just wasn’t for me. The repetitive slowness was a big damper. I wanted to like the characters more. Though, I absolutely adored the dog. I love the idea of what the author attempted. It just took so long for me to understand it and then I almost didn’t even finish it. It took me 2 weeks to read (a very long time). I give it a 5/10.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams and read by Martin Freeman

Summary from Goodreads:
Back on Earth with nothing more to show for his long, strange trip through time and space than a ratty towel and a plastic shopping bag, Arthur Dent is ready to believe that the past eight years were all just a figment of his stressed-out imagination. But a gift-wrapped fishbowl with a cryptic inscription, the mysterious disappearance of Earth's dolphins, and the discovery of his battered copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy all conspire to give Arthur the sneaking suspicion that something otherworldly is indeed going on. . . .

God only knows what it all means. And fortunately, He left behind a Final Message of explanation. But since it's light-years away from Earth, on a star surrounded by souvenir booths, finding out what it is will mean hitching a ride to the far reaches of space aboard a UFO with a giant robot. But what else is new?
So, I definitely think this was the weirdest book in the series. I thought the other stories were strange at times. This one was like the others, but on acid. Seriously. It included naked, flying sex scenes in the clouds. And, there were inside out houses. And final messages from God (which was sort of disappointing).  And a guy who brings rain with him everywhere he goes. Yet, I think it’s actually one of my favorite books in the series (maybe it’s my second favorite after the first book).
I had some serious “Woa!” moments in this book where a lot of things clicked. But, I also had some serious frustrated moments too. Like, I thought Earth was gone…How is Arthur there? And how does Fenchurch know something else must have happened? I loved how important the dolphins ended up being. The message they left in the fishbowls had me laughing out loud for several minutes.
So much about this book had me laughing out loud for several minutes. When aliens finally land on earth, a robot comes out of the ship and says, “I come in peace. Take me to your lizard.” Apparently, on his planet, lizards were the ones in charge…I also loved when Arthur kept trying to write a check to his favorite charity, to save the dolphins and the charity kept telling him to get out. He didn’t understand that all the dolphins had gone.
I liked that there was finally a little romance element to the story. It was nice seeing Arthur happy. It was also nice seeing Arthur as the more rational one in comparison to Ford Prefect. I loved when Ford met Fenchurch. I loved when Marvin came back into the picture. He had to explain to Arthur that he couldn’t be fixed with any more pieces. That over the millions of years, everything had been replaced except for one thing. The one thing that caused him pain in book 1…that he mentioned to Arthur and wished could be replaced all those millions of years ago. Oh, Marvin…
I think I’m going to end my reading of this series here because I like where things ended. My library system doesn’t have the last book on audio book. But, also, I have researched this series and this author. I know that the author’s last book is miserable and ends with a lot of death. Apparently, he always intended to write one more that brought everyone back in a happy note. He commented in interviews that he was in a bad mood while writing it. But, he passed away before writing that happy book. That is pretty much my worst nightmare in regards to authors and series. So, I think it’s healthier overall to end it here.
I’ve had an amazingly fun journey listening to all of them. I loved listening to Martin Freeman every day. I loved the characters, the humor, the setting, the absurdity, the strangeness, and the deeper levels of philosophy achieved here. All in all, I give this one a 9/10 (and I probably give the whole series a 9/10 also).

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (234)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.

This week I am waiting on:  The Defiant by Leslie Livingston (2/13/2018):

Description on Goodreads:
The darling of the Roman Empire is in for the fight of her life.

Be brave, gladiatrix… And be wary. Once you win Caesar’s love, you’ll earn his enemies’ hate.

Fallon was warned.

Now she is about to pay the price for winning the love of the Roman people as Caesar’s victorious gladiatrix.

In this highly anticipated sequel to THE VALIANT, Fallon and her warrior sisters find themselves thrust into a vicious conflict with a rival gladiator academy, one that will threaten not only Fallon’s heart – and her love for Roman soldier Cai – but the very heart of the ancient Roman Empire.

When dark treachery and vicious power struggles threaten her hard-won freedom, the only thing that might help the girl known as Victrix save herself and her sisters is a tribe of long-forgotten mythic Amazon warriors.

The only trouble is, they might just kill her themselves first.
Why I’m Waiting:
I was seriously impressed with book 1. It was one non-stop action movie of a YA novel. And I can’t wait to see where the story continues in book 2. That description sounds mighty promising. Also, Amazons? Yes please. The world needs more books with strong, fierce female warriors in them.
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Coming Up for Aiir by Miranda Kenneally

Summary from Goodreads:
Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat.

All of Maggie’s focus and free time is spent swimming. She’s not only striving to earn scholarships—she’s training to qualify for the Olympics. It helps that her best friend, Levi, is also on the team and cheers her on. But Levi’s already earned an Olympic tryout, so Maggie feels even more pressure to succeed. And it’s not until Maggie’s away on a college visit that she realizes how much of the “typical” high school experience she’s missed by being in the pool.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Maggie decides to squeeze the most out of her senior year. First up? Making out with a guy. And Levi could be the perfect candidate. After all, they already spend a lot of time together. But as Maggie slowly starts to uncover new feelings for Levi, how much is she willing to sacrifice in the water to win at love?
I love this author. I love how relatable all her main characters are. I love her focus on girl athletes. And I love that the sport or point of focus for these girls isn’t all that defines them.
If there were one main character whose sport defined them the most though, it would be Maggie. She lives and breathes swimming. And finally, I read about a girl who played the same sport as me. I was on a swim team for four years. I’ve done the super early practices. And I’ve done the weekend long meets. I knew all about the strokes, the times, the pools, and everything. And it felt so nice to read about a girl who did the same thing as me…except, who took it a lot more seriously.
I love that Maggie works so hard for it. She isn’t a naturally good athlete. She spends hours every day working to be better. I love that her flaws involve watching other swimmers and speeding up too early. What teen girl can’t fall behind, wasting time thinking about where others are and what others are doing? I love that she discovers a talent for a different stroke. I love her parents and their support.
I liked that this was about Maggie growing up and becoming a woman as much as it was about her working to become an Olympic athlete. I loved her rivalry with another swimmer. I loved her close group of friends who all related to the focus and drive needed to play a sport competitively. Though, there was a little bit of a cheese factor with them. Like they were almost too convenient and always said just the right thing.
Maggie took some getting used to. It took me a little longer to fully love her as a main character. I think this is because of how good she is. But as I read this, the more I loved her because she wanted more. I also super loved the romance. I love romance that starts as friendship. I love how awkward things are between the friends in the beginning. And I love that they both have to figure out what exactly it is that they want from each other. And I also love that swimming is first for Maggie. Always.
All in all, this was another fun installment for Miranda Keanneally. I read it super fast and it was the exact, light hearted romance I needed to read this summer. It’s not my favorite of the author’s works, but I really enjoyed it. I give it an 8/10.

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Good Week in Books (169)

I have one more week of craziness at work, and then things can back to a more a normal schedule. And hopefully, I can back into a more regular reading schedule. I did read one contemporary romance this week. And I finished my sci-fi audio book. I’ll be done with an ARC of Kristin Cashore’s latest soon. I didn’t exactly receive or purchase any new books this week. However, I did pick up some other awesomely geeky things from Boston Comic Con, one of which includes a signed comic book.  So, I thought I’d share.
My Comic Con treasures (minus some presents for people I can’t risk them seeing):

2 TeeTurtle T-shirts (one Harry Potter related)
1 Signed Buffy combicbook
1 Diagon Alley poster
1 Ask Us About Our Feminist Agenda poster
1 Kiki’s Delivery Service mashed up with Harry Potter poster
1 Spike (from Buffy) poster
1 mini TeeTurtle dinosaur poster (free with shirts)
1 pair of Lego Ron and Lego Hermione earrings
At the con, I met and talked with a lot of cool people, saw some awesome cosplay, and went to some seriously cool and Geeky Panels (one with Sailor Jupiter, one with Anthony Daniels –aka: C-3PO, and one with Eliza Dushku from Buffy/Angel/Doll House/etc). Needless to say, a fun weekend was had.  On to my last crazy Summer Reading week.
How was your week in books?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Gotham Academy Second Semester Volume 1: Welcome Back by Becky Cloonan

Summary from Goodreads:
GOTHAM ACADEMY is back for its second semester!

When you're Gotham Academy student Olive Silverlock, winter holidays can be a drag. Luckily, when a new student shows up at Gotham Academy to keep her company while the other students are away, Olive finds what could be a brand new friend...or a whole lot of trouble. And when Maps, Kyle, Colton, Pomeline and the rest of the students of Gotham's #1 prep school return for a new semester, the adventures are twice as mysterious and twice as dangerous!

Every time I’m about ready to give up on this story because I think I have it all figured out, something happens and drags me back in. The first half of this installment was kind of slow and not that interesting, plot-wise. There was more Olive being mopy, and more dark, gothic background stuff about the academy –but nothing new or critical. Then finally, stuff got more interesting when the rest of the crew returns.
Students start disappearing and it’s soon discovered that they are being recruited by a Witch club. And it’s not a friendly group of witches –more like a group of brain washed students doing terrible things like burning books and abandoning their friends. And if in case that wasn’t enough to wheel me back into the swing of things, in comes an epic twist that I did not see coming at all.
And finally, a major development for Olive happens, something I’ve been waiting for since probably the first installment of these graphic novels. And I’m so glad, I got to witness this. I can’t wait to see where the story goes from this point on.
I love the side characters in this almost more than the main characters. They are all developed in a way I wish all side characters in all stories to be. I also love the setting. Everything about Gotham Academy is dark, mysterious, and creepy. I would seriously love this to be a TV show. I think this would make for best tv show set.
The one thing that irks me sometimes is the writing. There’s a lot of slow moments –like the author has to build up to being good again. And there seems to be a lot of extra filler that doesn’t need to be there. That being said, the writers are good at getting my attention back after all the filler. All in all, I give this an 8/10.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (233)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.

This week I am waiting on:  Olivia Twist by Lorie Langdon (3/6/2018):

Description from Goodreads:
Olivia Brownlow is no damsel in distress. Born in a workhouse and raised as a boy among thieving London street gangs, she is as tough and cunning as they come. When she is taken in by her uncle after a caper gone wrong, her life goes from fighting and stealing on the streets to lavish dinners and soirees as a debutante in high society. But she can’t seem to escape her past … or forget the teeming slums where children just like her still scrabble to survive.

Jack MacCarron rose from his place in London’s East End to become the adopted “nephew” of a society matron. Little does society know that MacCarron is a false name for a boy once known among London gangs as the Artful Dodger, and that he and his “aunt” are robbing them blind every chance they get. When Jack encounters Olivia Brownlow in places he least expects, his curiosity is piqued. Why is a society girl helping a bunch of homeless orphan thieves? Even more intriguing, why does she remind him so much of someone he once knew? Jack finds himself wondering if going legit and risking it all might be worth it for love.

Olivia Twist is an innovative reimagining of Charles Dickens’ classic tale Oliver Twist, in which Olivia was forced to live as a boy for her own safety until she was rescued from the streets. Now eighteen, Olivia finds herself at a crossroads: revealed secrets threaten to destroy the “proper” life she has built for her herself, while newfound feelings for an arrogant young man she shouldn’t like could derail her carefully laid plans for the future.
Why I’m Waiting:
You can’t always tell this by the books I most commonly read, but I seriously love the Classics. I was an English Major after all. One of my all time favorite classic writers is Charles Dickens. I am beyond excited to not only get a YA retelling of Oliver Twist, but a YA retelling of Oliver Twist, where Oliver is a girl! The romance, the secrets, the espionage, and the characters of this retelling sound splendid! 2018 looks like it will be a wonderful year for YA.
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Summary from Goodreads:
Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.
For the first time ever, I found a Stephanie Perkins book that I’m not totally in love with. I remember asking the publisher for this ARC at ALA and then practically jumping for joy when I was handed it. I remember thinking, “ I’d be fine not picking up any more books because this is all that I need.” I was kind of wrong. And I’m so glad I continued to pick up books.
I didn’t hate the book. I actually kind of loved certain parts of it. I loved the whole awkward romance story between Makani and Ollie. Everything about it was awesome. I loved the whole not knowing if it was just a summer thing and then not knowing if the other was ashamed thing. I loved how Perkins puts all doubt that runs in my head at the start of a relationship and manifests it not just in the girl’s head, but also in the guy’s. Everything felt so real with this, and wonderful.
That being said, I kind of feel like the author clearly has her strengths with contemporary type romances. And while I give her serious credit for branching outside these strengths and trying something new, her suspenseful horror writing just wasn’t cutting it for me. Every time another character was going to be murdered, the writing switches to that new character’s point of view. So…basically…the reader always knows when someone is about to die (with the exception of one mishap). And I hated this.
My favorite horror movies are the old ones. And the ironic thing is that the author even at one point refers to my favorite movie (Psycho). However, what Psycho accomplished and what this book failed at doing was seriously shocking me. I loved that the main character of Psycho dies half way through the movie. I was not suspecting that at all. I just don’t get why Perkins had to give the readers all the heads up she did when someone was about to die. It ruined all suspense and possible horror I could have had.
You also find out who the killer is rather quickly. This didn’t bother me so much because then the characters could question why the killer was doing what he/she was doing. What were the connections between the victims? I liked this element. That being said, the actual reason was super lame. Not all villains and serial killers need great reasons to do what they do; clearly, they are nuts. But, this one? It was a major disappointment for me.
Also, a major disappointment was Makani’s secret. She was holding back this major secret for most of the book. It’s the reason that led to her moving to this small, creepy town. But, I just wasn’t buying it. It didn’t seem big enough to encompass all the stress and blame that Makani had going on. Maybe if she was having some PTSD from her own experiences, I would have bought it, but it was all about the guilt she had for one moment that didn’t seem as terrible as she made it out to be.
There were some serious questions left un-answered. And okay, as I’m thinking about it now, maybe a lot of these questions were intentional red herrings. I really thought I had guessed who the killer was, but I was wrong. And maybe part of my disappointment is the fact that I couldn’t have figured it out if I wanted to. I felt a little bit jipped. But, maybe this was intentional. Sadly though, I felt a little bit jipped from a lot of different places: the killer (already mentioned), the lack of character development for the friends, the storyline with her parents having no explanation, Makani’s secret, and the final scene where it all ends.
I guess over all, Makani and Ollie were very well developed characters with a believable and shippable love story. But, everything else feel a bit flat and needed more handling. The parents, the grandma, the reason for the deaths, and the secrets (aka: everything else) needed to be more flushed out. I give this a 6/10.

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Good Week in Books (168)

I had a nice book week. Honestly, with my summer schedule, I have no idea how I read at all. I guess books keep me sane and I need all of the ones I can get my hands on over the summer. I read one ARC and one graphic novel this week. I also started a new contemporary and am about half way through my latest sci-fi audio book. I received five new books for review this week. Thank you, Macmillan. And I just have two more crazy weeks at work to go! And in 3 weeks, I have a stay-cation to look forward to (hopefully filled with books, beaches, and good food).
The new books:

The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray
The Beautiful Darkness by Mary E. Pearson
Love is Both Wave and Particle by Paul Cody
Whatever by S.J. Goslee
In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody
How was your week in books?

Friday, August 4, 2017

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

Summary from Goodreads:
As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen's thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.
Oh, Sarah Dessen, I have missed you. Reading her books always feels like such a treat. Like, magically traveling to Paris for a few moments just to eat the perfect croissant. I’m not saying her book is a perfect croissant or that it comes remotely close to Paris geographically; I’m saying reading her books makes for the perfect little moments of me time. Such a treat.
I read this book in less than 24 hours. I ate it up. It’s not my favorite Sarah Dessen novel, but it’s up there. It’s just what I needed at the right time. I needed something good that would help me unwind from an insanely busy week, and a super fun and busy weekend. This was it.
I’ve read reviews that say this one is darker than other Dessen novels. Yes, there is some dark stuff in here, but…have these reviewers read her other books? There’s always something a little dark or intense there: divorce, grief, scandal, family drama, etc. Okay, this one is a little more current with its darkness –there is a school shooting to be blamed for Louna’s grief. But, I didn’t think it was any darker than the Dessen book about the abusive relationship.
I thought this element gave the story some interesting depth. And I certainly know that Dessen must have experiencedd some serious grief in her time because she writes it so well, in a way I could seriously relate to (with my grief over the loss of my dad). Her writing, in general, seems to only improve with each book. She knows how to write teen girls so well. She knows how to get into their heads and sometimes it just feels like she must be in my head too.
I liked the side characters. I loved Louna’s interesting life and family. Teen wedding planners was not something I ever thought I’d get a chance to read. And I love how cynical it makes the main character. I loved every scene that took place at a wedding. All the time between weddings, I kept hoping for more. It was like an inside look at a super great reality show –but written exceptionally well.
I wasn’t a humongous fan of the love interest. He seemed a bit much. I do like hate-to-friendship-to-love stories a lot. But, he seemed kinda terrible –like lacking in general morals. He dated multiple girls at once and didn’t treat girls all too well. Why am I to assume he’ll treat Louna better? Does love change someone into a nicer human being? I do get that he’s charming and he and Louna have chemistry, but I was kind of hoping he’d become a little bit nicer or need to prove to everyone that he could be worth of Louna.
All in all though, I super enjoyed this one. I wish Dessen would write more frequently. Though, I guess if she did, it wouldn’t seem so much like a Parisian treat. All in all, I give this a 9/10.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine

Summary from Goodreads:
Words can kill.

Hoarding all the knowledge of the world, the Great Library jealously guards its secrets. But now a group of rebels poses a dangerous threat to its tyranny…

Jess Brightwell and his band of exiles have fled London, only to find themselves imprisoned in Philadelphia, a city led by those who would rather burn books than submit. But Jess and his friends have a bargaining chip: the knowledge to build a machine that will break the Library’s rule.

Their time is running out. To survive, they’ll have to choose to live or die as one, to take the fight to their enemies—and to save the very soul of the Great Library…
So, I love these books. The tension was at in all time high in this installment. It was hard reading this book when I was because of my crazy work schedule. I wished I had a day off to do nothing but read it.
The first half takes place in America, at a Burner’s camp. And the second half takes place at Jess’s family’s home. The first half felt like an episode of the Walking Dead. I had no idea what would happen, who might die, how far the Library was willing to go to kill everyone, etc. I was biting my nails. Danger was everywhere.
And the second half was more mentally suspenseful, and not quite as interesting. I knew something big was going to happen and then when Jess had a plan (that he did not share with the reader), I knew something really big was going down. A big twist happened, but I’m not sure I fully understand yet or even if I’m meant to. Again, the book ends at a terrible cliffhanger, and I know Jess has a plan, but I’m not quite sure how much of this it encompasses. And why does it have to go this way for Morgan? Really, there was no other choice?
Also, the printing press seems to be Jess’s most used bargaining chip. How many more times will he have to sell it and convince it? This became a bit repetitive. I’m not sure the second half of the book needed to be as long as it was. The juicy, craziness all seemed to be in America. And then it fell a bit flat. I was also kind of rushing through it at that point because I needed to know what was going to happen with certain characters (and, wow, it’s hard to talk about this book and without spoiling things).
All in all, the first half was better than the second half. It did eventually feel a bit like a filler book in the series. I know the next book will be all kinds of suspenseful because of where this left off. I loved the characters. I loved the setting. I just wanted a little less planning and little more doing. Though, I know it’s coming. I give this one an 8/10.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday (232)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.

This week I am waiting on:  Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre (2/13/2018):

Description from Goodreads:
Zara Cole has been in and out of New Detroit’s rehab facilities for treatment of her antisocial disorder. There’s no adjusting Zara’s attitude, though. A painful past has made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in the Zone instead moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell.

Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan–a race of sentient alien ships—to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers.

Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned to along with fellow Honor Beatriz, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time, along with a devotion she’s never experienced before. Yet nothing—not her Honors training or her street smarts—could have prepared her for the dark, dangerous truths that lurk behind the glitter of starlight.

Honor Among Thieves is the first book in a daring new sci-fi series by bestselling authors Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre.
Why I’m Waiting:
This sounds so good! I want to read this right now. I love sci-fi. And I love these two authors, particularly Rachel Caine. I can’t wait to see what a book by the two of them, together, looks like.
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Life, the Universe, and Everything by Douglas Adams and read by Martin Freeman

Summary from Goodreads:
The unhappy inhabitants of planet Krikkit are sick of looking at the night sky above their heads–so they plan to destroy it. The universe, that is. Now only five individuals stand between the killer robots of Krikkit and their goal of total annihilation.

They are Arthur Dent, a mild-mannered space and time traveler who tries to learn how to fly by throwing himself at the ground and missing; Ford Prefect, his best friend, who decides to go insane to see if he likes it; Slartibartfast, the indomitable vice president of the Campaign for Real Time, who travels in a ship powered by irrational behavior; Zaphod Beeblebrox, the two-headed, three-armed ex-president of the galazy; and Trillian, the sexy space cadet who is torn between a persistent Thunder God and a very depressed Beeblebrox.

How will it all end? Will it end? Only this stalwart crew knows as they try to avert “universal” Armageddon and save life as we know it–and don’t know it!
So, I liked this book more than book 2. But, still book 1 holds the best spot. It’s hard to beat book 1. That being said, I very much appreciated things centering more on Arthur again. I feel like much of my disorientation and likability of book 2 comes from the fact that Arthur felt more like a side character. Whereas in this book, he was front in center again.
It’s not even that I love Arthur Dent. He’s sort of the a-typical main male protagonist and or best friend character. A lot of the absurdity of everything comes from him though. And I appreciate his sense of humor and shock and surprise at amazing things that everyone else just seems to accept as reality. He’s the most human and the easiest to care for. And I liked seeing him go through all that he goes through in this installment.
Slartibartfaast also returns, and I find him a really interesting character too. In this book, he’s trying to sace the universe from being destroyed by robots. At one point, Arthur gets separated from the group (again!) and finds himself at a place, deemed the Cathedral of Hate. This was probably the most absurd part of the book, where I also could not stop laughing. Apparently some poor soul kept being killed by Arthur (by mistake or accident) and then was reincarnated into something else that would also soon be killed by Arthur. Everything from flies to rabbits, to aliens were killed, and I know I’m not giving this part justice right now, but I was laughing for 20 minutes.
There’s also a part with a lost piece of luggage and Greek olive oil that had me laughing for several more minutes. Oh, and Thor is in this book! Trillian has a moment with Thor! Also, after you think the world is saved, you relize it isn’t and it actually all comes down to Arthur playing cricket on a field…Seriously, the book is nuts.
I loved the concept of this book. I loved the characters. I loved the absurdity and the humor. The story and plot were a little jumbled for my liking, and parts of it kind of felt like filler. Like the author knew this wasn’t the last story, but he needed to write something before his better more final installments could come out.
All in all though, I enjoyed this. There is no better way to be stuck in summer traffic, than when I can laugh hysterically to a book like this. I give it an 8/10.