Sunday, November 29, 2015

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Wow. What an interesting book.

Illuminae is a sci-fi novel centered around two main protagonists, Kady Grant and Ezra Mason. Kady and Ezra are living on a small planet, Kerenza, that is attacked by the Beitech Company, a major corporation that is warring with another mega-corporation. The Kerenza survivors are whisked away on a convoy of ships, but they have to contend with the continued pursuit of Beitech's fleet, a biological weapon that is affecting many of the survivors, and an artificial intelligence system that has gone haywire, and may now be doing more harm than good. 

The story is told in a really fascinating way. Various documents, including transcripts, e-mails, IMs, and reports are used to construct the narrative. The style is a little gimmicky, and can feel like reading a found footage film. Sifting through the documents can certainly feel draining at times, but they were interesting enough to keep me moving through the book. Ultimately, the book was a pretty quick read for me, even though it clocked in at a little less than 600 pages. 

I think the main aspect of the novel that held my attention was the strength of the characters. Kady and Ezra were pretty well developed. The two were in a relationship that had just ended on the day Kerenza was attacked, so they had some personal issues to work out while also dealing with the issues on their ships, which led to some great IM conversations between the two. Kady and Ezra had great personalities, and their talks were chockful of witty banter, I'm a sucker for good banter, and it can be hard to pull off without seeming cheesy or becoming annoying, but Kaufman and Kristoff make this dialogue feel natural and use it to give the novel some much needed lighter moments.

Also, AIDAN is creepy. Read the book, embrace the creepiness.

This book is definitely worth a read. Plus this is happening, so now you have added incentive to get to it sooner rather than later.   

Friday, October 16, 2015

Dewey's Readathon is Upon Us!

The Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon is fast approaching people! From 8 AM Saturday to 8 AM Sunday, I will be devouring words like a crazy person. Granted, I have a morning shift Saturday at the library and will probably pass out around midnight Sunday because I NEED SLEEP, but that's ok. One of the best things about the Dewey's Readathon is that it's a judgment free zone. You read however much you want for however long you want. My hope is to get through a couple books, but I have a pretty big, varied stack in the hopes of avoiding a reading rut.

I have a couple novels, Nova Ren Suma's The Walls Around Us and Katherine Howe's The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen.


I have a short story collection, Shirley Jackson's The Lottery and Other Stories, and an essay collection, When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. I've started both collections and am loving them so far, plus the shorter format means I can dive in and out of these with relative ease (readathon success is all about strategy, people!).


I also have a couple graphic novels, Scott Snyder's Wytches and the second book in John Lewis's March trilogy.


Like I said, I'll be happy to get through a couple of these during the readathon. I'll also try to spend some of my readathon time supporting other bloggers.

Happy thon, everyone!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

If you've been waiting for years for the release of the next book in Libba Bray's Diviners series, then rejoice, because book 2, Lair of Dreams, has finally arrived! The consensus throughout the blogosphere seems to be that the book is a great continuation of the first, and I would definitely agree. We left off in Roaring 20s era New York City, and that's where Lair of Dreams picks back up. The Diviners, a group of people from different backgrounds with supernatural abilities that we met in book 1, are more important than ever as a mysterious sleeping sickness begins plaguing residents of the city.

There are so many diviners featured in the book, all with different powers and backstories, and since I'm not as talented as Libba Bray at juggling their stories in narrative form, I'm going to turn to list-making:

Evie O'Neill - A Diviner who can see the past by holding objects, Evie has a new radio show, so she's dealing with her rising stardom, the personal effects of book 1's events, and a love triangle with Sam and Jericho.

Sam Lloyd - Sam, a Diviner with the ability to make himself evade detection for short bursts of time, spends much of book 2 trying to uncover the mystery of what happened to his mother, who was taken by a secret government organization called Project Buffalo when he was a child.

Jericho Jones - Jericho's still reeling from the events of book 1, including his feelings for Evie, and issues from his past.

Memphis and Isaiah Campbell - The Campbell brothers are grappling with their Diviners powers, and have the added threat of the mysterious Blind Bill, who keeps moving closer to the Campbell family. Memphis also has a budding relationship with Theta.

Theta Knight - Theta has to deal with her fears about her powers, while pretending to be a Russian orphan for her job with the Ziegfeld Follies and trying to help her friend, Henry.

Henry DuBois - Henry's story is central to this book. As a dream walker, Henry spends much of his time in book 2 in the Lair of Dreams, searching for a loved one.

Ling Chan - A fellow dream walker, Ling helps Henry on his search. A daughter of immigrants, Ling lives in Chinatown, where the sleeping sickness begins. Ling and her neighbors have to deal with the ensuing fear mongering and xenophobia that comes with the sleeping sickness.

That list is just a taste of the large cast of characters, and the wonderful world that Bray has built in this series. Bray's writing is wonderful, the novel is meaty (clocking in at over 600 pages), but the story moves quickly, and by the last chapter you will be anxiously awaiting the next installment. Let's all hope it comes soon!

Monday, August 31, 2015

R.I.P. X: It's About to get Spoopy, Y'all!

My favorite time of the year - fall - is quickly approaching, and alongside cooler weather, changing leaves, and pumpkin spice everything, comes the best holiday to ever holiday: Halloween.

Dance, magical pumpkin man
During this wonderful season, I want nothing more than to invest my time consuming all the spine-tingling pop culture I can get my hands on. Thankfully for me, there's a fantastic reading challenge that does just that, R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril, or R.I.P. started by Carl V. Anderson and hosted this year by the Estella Society's Andi and Heather!
Image: Abigail Larson

The R.I.P. challenge is all about embracing the wonderful world of eerie Gothic and horror literature in the world. There are many levels of participation, but I'm going with the top challenge, Peril the first. between September 1st and October 31st, I will read at least 4 books that I feel fit with the R.I.P. themes.

My tentative reading list is:

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

American Gothic Tales edited by Joyce Carol Oates

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

This list is just a start - I'll most likely be adding to it as I go, along with watching spooky movies/TV throughout the next two months. Ack! I can't believe fall starts tomorrow (I know that it technically doesn't start until the back half of September, but I can dream!). If you're participating in the R.I.P. challenge let me know what you plan on reading in the comments!
My crew from now until Oct. 31


Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)

Summary (from Goodreads): Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City--and she is pos-i-toot-ly thrilled. New York is the city of speakeasies, shopping, and movie palaces! Soon enough, Evie is running with glamorous Ziegfield girls and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is Evie has to live with her Uncle Will, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult--also known as "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies."

When a rash of occult-based murders comes to light, Evie and her uncle are right in the thick of the investigation. And through it all, Evie has a secret: a mysterious power that could help catch the killer--if he doesn't catch her first.
Review: The Diviners was fantastic. Fantastic. Ok, now that I've established the awesomeness of this book, let's look at why it's fantastic.
1) The setting: 1920s New York City. Full of speakeasies, flappers and jazz clubs, the world of The Diviners is very Gatsby-esque.
2) The characters: There are a lot of them, but they're all fantastic. There's Evie, our main protagonist; her Uncle Will; Will's assistant Jericho; mysterious con-man Sam; Evie's best friend Mabel; Ziegfeld dancer Theta and her pianist friend Henry; and, last but not least, Memphis and his brother Isaiah. All of these characters are fleshed out by Bray and they all have interesting dynamics with each other.
3) Did I mention that most of these characters have special powers?: Because they do. They're like 1920s X-Men.
4) Extremely scary villains: Naughty John = legitimately terrifying. In fact, the whole Brotherhood is creepy. Read the book, you'll see what I'm talking about.
5) Satisfying conclusions, but enough open mysteries to leave you craving the next book: Which unfortunately won't be out until Spring of next year. Until then, I'll probably just sit here in a puddle of feels.
Bottom Line: Read The Diviners. It's historical/paranormal fiction by the amazing Libba Bray. If that doesn't make you want to buy this book, I don't know what will.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer TBR

Summer is officially upon us! I know that because all the traditional signs are here. My classes are done, it's ridiculously hot outside, and I've got my serious reading time face on. Summer is the time where I can laze around and get through the biggest chunk in my reading list. With that being said, here are the books I would like to get through this year:

Winger by Andrew Smith: This sounds like a humorous, thoughtful coming of age story set in a prep school. Think Looking for Alaska, but with rugby!

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters: This is set in the early nineteenth century, when the Spanish flu and the first World War were having a major impact on people's lives. This novel seems to focus on the séance culture that rose up from all of the tragedy of that time.
In the Shadow of Blackbirds

The Diviners by Libba Bray: Continuing with my summer theme of YA historical fiction with a paranormal twist, this novel is set in the Roaring 20s, so I'm sure it's full of speakeasies, flappers, and GHOSTS. At least I'm assuming there are GHOSTS. That's what it seems like. This one is a bit of a chunkster (it's 578 pages to be exact), but longer reads tend to be perfect for the summer. Plus Libba Bray wrote it, so it must be amazing. Also GHOSTS.
The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson: We have now entered the YA futuristic/dystopian/science fictiony section of the TBR. This book has been on my TBR for a while. I can't wait to get to it. I've heard great things. I also have a copy of The Fox Inheritance, so if I like this book, I can immediately get into its sequel.
The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Jenna Fox Chronicles, #1)

Wither by Lauren DeStefano: Again, an awesome dystopian trilogy that everyone has been raving about but I am late to the party for. I feel a definite need to get on this one in particular, and I don't know why. Is it the amazing cover? The intriguing premise? I don't know but it's burning a hole in my bookshelf so this will be read. Pinky promise.
Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl: I really enjoyed Beautiful Creatures, so it would be nice to read the second book. I'm terrible with follow through, so actually finishing a series would be awesome, and if I like Beautiful Darkness enough, maybe I'll get the other books and actually finish the series this year!
Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles, #2)

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer: Werewolves. They always spice up the summer months. I also have a copy of Wolfsbane, so I can continue this series if I like it as well.
Nightshade (Nightshade, #1)

So those are my big reading goals for the summer. I plan on reading more than these seven books of course, but these are the definites. What on your summer TBR? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Ten by Gretchen McNeil


Summary (from Goodreads): And their doom comes swiftly.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Review: Oh, Gretchen McNeil. You know how to mess with my mind. I thought I had Ten all figured out. I thought I was ready for every single twist and turn that you would throw my way. I had read And Then There Were None, the Agatha Christie novel that inspired Ten. I came into this prepared to do some serious sleuthing and thought I had the killer pegged by chapter 5. I thought I was right until the last few chapters, which I spent freaking out because the plot twists were just so ingenious.

Gretchen McNeil has created a fantastic mystery in Ten. Ten teens come to a secluded island, ready to party for the weekend. Unfortunately for them, they were all tricked into coming so they could be picked off one by one by a mysterious killer. The tension in the book is something that contributes to it's scary feel. It's truly terrifying watching these kids try to solve the mystery of why someone is hunting them as they're being hunted. Something you learn very quickly in this novel is that no one is safe. Gretchen McNeil does a great job of building up that sense of hopelessness and dread.

Ten is the type of book that makes your heart race. It's a great read. Just be sure to leave the lights on.