Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Book Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner



"For a moment the image before us is frozen: our world, our lives, reduced to a handful broken stars half lost in uncharted space. Then it's gone."

Rating: 4 stars
Initial Thoughts: Different
Read: February 28, 2015

About
A luxury spaceliner suddenly plummets from hyperspace and crashes into the nearest planet. Only two survive, Lilac, a society girl, the daughter of the richest man in the universe and Tarver, a war hero. Lilac anticipates immediate rescue, while Tarver just wants to survive. Unfortunately for them, they have landed on a deserted planet with a mystery of its own.

 Review

This book was essentially a romance in space, with a little bit of sci-fi thrown in for good measure and I loved it.

This story is told in duo point-of-view, which really helped me as the reader to connect with the characters. It is these characters and the character growth that occurs throughout the book which made this book stand out from the other YA dystopia/fantasy that I have been reading lately. The interactions between these two and their reactions to their situation and surroundings was incredibly realistic. This was refreshing when it seems that in ½ of all YA books the female protagonist is secretly a sharp shooter and have unknown survival skills. 

The characters are so entrenched in their views (aka. frustratingly stubborn) that their relationship builds gradually, as they rely on each other to survive. The go from being outright hostile to one another, to trusting each other and eventually romance blossoms (this is a YA folks).

I am interested in reading more from the authors as they have set up an interesting Universe with an interesting history. I know that the next book in the series does not focus on the same characters, but I still want to see where the authors are going to take this series.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel



“Survival is insufficient.” 

Read: February 18-23, 2015

Rating: 3 Stars initially, upon review downgraded to 2.5 Stars

Initial Thoughts: Boring

About
Station Eleven tells two stories, woven together following characters impacted by the life and death of Arthur Leander – child actress Kirsten, paparazzo turned EMT Jeevan and ex-wife Miranda.  Arthur was a famous actor, suffers a fatal heart attack during a production of King Lear. Shortly after a terrible flu begins to spread, killing 99% of the population.  Arthur falls in and out of love, Jeevan watches helplessly as the world falls apart and 20 years in the future Kirsten is traveling between settlements with the Traveling Symphony performing Shakespeare for survivors.  

Review
I am writing this book five weeks after reading this book and I am at a loss as to what to write. What I do know is that I am yet again the black sheep amongst my fellow Goodreaders and everyone who I watch on Booktuber. Many raved about this book and their glowing reviews bumped this book to the top of my TBR pile. I don’t understand the buzz. While everyone else has been raving about the hauntingly beautiful writing, for me this book was a struggle to get through and once I finished this book became unmemorable. I could not connect with any of these characters. They don’t really do anything and they are not contributing to a greater plot.  

While the premise of this novel was promising, post-apocalyptic traveling theater group, in this novel the plague is an afterthought. Instead the book focuses on a Hollywood actor and the people who came into his life. I want to know how the plague happened and why it happened, and while I realize that was not the purpose of this book, I still want to know.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Mistborn – The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson



“Our belief is often strongest when it should be weakest. That is the nature of hope.”  

Read: February 14-16, 2015.

Initial Thoughts: Ocean’s Eleven meets Epic fantasy.

About

The Final Empire is a bleak and cruel place. A thousand years ago the man who was to be the ‘Hero of Ages’, took control of the world after destroying the Deepness, naming himself eternal Lord Ruler

Life is hardest for the skaa, who have been enslaved for a thousand years, forced to work until their death for the Lord Ruler and his nobility. The skaa have been forced into slavery because they lacked the ability to manipulate metals to power unique gifts, super strength and emotion manipulation, known as allomancy. The nobility have been granted these powers as a reward for supporting the Lord Ruler. Most nobles are only able to use one metal, but very rarely one is born with the ability to manipulate all the metals; a Mistborn.

Our main protagonist is a skaa girl named Vin, who has survived on the streets as part of a skaa thieving crew, using her “luck” to keep her alive in the criminal underworld of the Final Empire. Vin’s life changes when she meets Kelsier, who had been a legendary crewleader in the underworld until he was caught by the Lord Ruler and sentenced to death in the Pits of Hathsin. Kelsier has escaped and returns to carry out his biggest heist yet - killing the Lord Ruler.   

My Thoughts 

Wow, just wow. This book was FANTASTIC. After having read so many mediocre Young Adult books lately, I enjoyed having to read a complex, well written book that constantly kept me on my toes.

The plot was slow to start. It took me quite a while to make it through the first hundred pages due to the complexity of the world and magic system. Given that this book is the first in a trilogy the pace and thorough explanations of the laws of allomancy were to be expected. Once I made it past the world building I could not put this book down.

I loved the characters. They were well written and each character had their own presence which develops as the novel progresses. Kelsier was probably my favourite. Even though he is on a fools mission, his convictions are so strong that he makes all those around him believe in the missions success.

And we cannot forget about the plot twists. Seriously, that ending! You think you know what is going on and then everything changes out of left field. Once it happens it makes complete sense and you don’t understand why you never saw it coming. I love it.

Seriously, believe the hype. If you have not read this book, pick it up. I cannot wait to read the second book in this trilogy later this spring. 

Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Bookshelf Tour

This lovely bookshelf has survived 6 moves in 7 years and two crazy cats who are found of sleeping on my books. While I used to shelve all my books together, recently I decided to dedicate this shelf to only my Young Adult and Children's Literature.



Children's Literature and Fantasy:
Favorites: Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness and Protector of the Small Quartets, Harry Potter and Sarah J Maas's Throne of Glass series (the only books I have been reading the last two years)

Dystopian and Modern Fantasy:
Favorites: Holly Black's Modern Faerie Tales trilogy and Taherah Mafi's Shatter Me trilogy

Miscellaneous, Rainbow Rowell and Chick-lit:
Favorites: Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl and Meg Cabot's Heather Wells Series

Now I just need to figure out what to do with this pile. So many books and not enough shelves.


A bookshelf tour of my adult novels coming sometime in 2015... 

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Quick Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard



“In the fairy tales, the poor girl smiles when she becomes a princess. Right now, I don't know if I'll ever smile again.”



About



Our main character, Mare, is a Red. Reds are normal human beings and are the slaves to the Silvers, elite beings with supernatural abilities. The Silvers treat the, forcing them to live in slums and to fight a century long war with neighboring Silver kingdoms.   In an effort to save herself and her friend from conscription Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace only to discover that she's just as special as them. Mare finds herself in the middle of a dangerous game of revolution, lies and betrayal in the guest for the crown and freedom.



My Thoughts



Honestly I did not have high expectations for this book. This book was getting so much hype on Booktube and amongst the blogs that I follow. After the letdown that was The Darkest Part of the Forest, I was not expecting to be so captivated by this novel.  This book is similar to many books on the market now and while I found it to be predictable, I still really enjoyed this read.  



My only issue with this book is that Mare is very na├»ve. I had mentioned before that this book was very predictable, well apparently for our main character it was not. Overall, I cannot wait to see what is up next in this trilogy. Remember - ”Anyone can betray anyone.”

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Find On: Goodreads or Amazon

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Quick Review: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”

About

This book follows two parallel stories set during World War II. Our main characters are Marie-Laure and Werner. Marie-Laure is a blind girl who lives with her father until the Nazis invade France. Marie-Laure and her father flee Paris to the coast, into Saint-Malo, to live with her reclusive uncle. Unknown to Marie, her father is smuggling a rare diamond, that many believe is cursed with magical power. Werner is German orphan who knows everything about radios. Because of his skills he is sent as a young boy to train as a soldier for Hitler’s army, ultimately using his skills to seek out resistance armies using the radio. We follow both characters throughout there adolescence, until their stories collide.

My Thoughts


I do not understand why everyone seemed to love this book. It never seemed to end and nothing important happened. It just kept plodding along and I just kept reading waiting for the excitement to begin. Contrary to what I was led to believe this book is not about WWII or a love story. This is a book about a diamond that may or may not have magical powers and the struggles that our two main characters go through throughout the War. Considering the atrocities committed during this time period, the "struggles" of our two main characters were nothing. The character stories do not even bring them together until the book is ¾ of the way through and then you are just left wanting more.

While the writing was beautiful, it was not enough to save the story. 

Overall Rating: 3 Stars 

Find On: Goodreads or  Amazon