Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Reviews in Minor: Books I enjoyed in April!


Obsidio by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha's past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict.

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken.
 




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REVIEW

The stunning ending to the ILLUMINAE files was piled up with an amazing plot, beloved and hated characters and a very, very satisfying, jaw-dropping ending!

Kady and co have to go back to Kerenza where the private soldiers of the evil company BeiTech have the remaining citizens under the martial law. The new characters Rhys and Asha, meanwhile, find themselves torn between love and duty while time is running out for everyone.

Literally, I was very anxious as I turned the pages and those two clocks were coming closer and closer to the end. Not to mention that they felt like ticking bombs. The story involves everyone and through the files, the pictures, and that amazing small comic I was actually wondering who was going to die. Because both authors have proved to be master geniuses when it comes to tearing your heart to pieces.

I didn't expect the ending AFTER the ending! WOW, I'd pay to have more books made just for THAT remaining character! ;)




About the authors:

Amie Kaufman is a New York Times, USA Today and internationally bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy. Her multi-award winning work has been published in over 35 countries, and is in development for film and TV. A couple of her career highlights so far include professional wolf-howling lessons, and working as a story consultant at NASA. You can sign up for her newsletter to see what she's working on, hear when she releases a new book, and be automatically entered for giveaways: www.eepurl.com/6Ya8j

She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, their rescue dog, and her considerable library.





Jay Kristoff is the #1 international, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE, THE ILLUMINAE FILES and THE LOTUS WAR. He is the winner of five Aurealis Awards, an ABIA, has over half a million books in print and is published in over thirty five countries, most of which he has never visited. He is as surprised about all of this as you are. He is 6’7 and has approximately 12,000 days to live. 

He does not believe in happy endings.















Defy the Worlds by Claudia Gray
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads

This is the thrilling and romantic sequel to Defy the Stars from the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Lost Starsand Bloodline.

An outcast from her home -- Shunned after a trip through the galaxy with Abel, the most advanced cybernetic man ever created, Noemi Vidal dreams of traveling through the stars one more time. And when a deadly plague arrives on Genesis, Noemi gets her chance. As the only soldier to have ever left the planet, it will be up to her to save its people...if only she wasn't flying straight into a trap.

A fugitive from his fate -- On the run to avoid his depraved creator's clutches, Abel believes he's said good-bye to Noemi for the last time. After all, the entire universe stands between them...or so he thinks. When word reaches him of Noemi's capture by the very person he's trying to escape, Abel knows he must go to her, no matter the cost.

But capturing Noemi was only part of Burton Mansfield's master plan. In a race against time, Abel and Noemi will come together once more to discover a secret that could save the known worlds, or destroy them all.

In this thrilling and romantic sequel to Defy the Stars, bestselling author Claudia Gray asks us all to consider where--and with whom--we truly belong.




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REVIEW

The sequel to "Defy the Stars" was one of my most anticipating of 2018. I knew that Claudia Gray was going to tear me up apart with her writing but I couldn't expect her to make me cry!

Abel and Noemi will have far more to deal with than their own feelings. Mansfield and the humans have created a secret project that will be 'revolutionary' on Earth, while the people of Genesis are in grave danger.

Noemi and Abel will have to team up again if they expect to stop everyone. And there's lots of action, amazing descriptions of planets and space-ship and also the POVs of Noemi and Abel. Despite being in the third POV, there is true emotion, realistic reactions and some good humor hidden in there.

The ending was horrible. And a cliffhanger. I really fear to see the next book.




About the author:



Claudia Gray is not my real name. I didn't choose a pseudonym because my real name is unpleasant (it isn't), because I'd always dreamed of calling myself this (I haven't) or even because I'm hiding from the remnants of that international diamond-smuggling cartel I smashed in 2003 (Interpol has taken care of them). In short, I took a pseudonym for no real reason whatsoever. Sometimes this is actually the best reason to do things.

I live in New Orleans. So far, in life, I've been a disc jockey, a lawyer, a journalist and an extremely bad waitress, just to name a few. I especially like to spend time traveling, hiking, reading and listening to music. More than anything else, I enjoy writing.








Circe by Madeline Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads

The daring, dazzling and highly anticipated follow-up to the New York Times bestseller The Song of Achilles

One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2018

"An epic spanning thousands of years that's also a keep-you-up-all-night page turner." - Ann Patchett

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child--not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power--the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.

Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft, tames wild beasts and crosses paths with many of the most famous figures in all of mythology, including the Minotaur, Daedalus and his doomed son Icarus, the murderous Medea, and, of course, wily Odysseus.

But there is danger, too, for a woman who stands alone, and Circe unwittingly draws the wrath of both men and gods, ultimately finding herself pitted against one of the most terrifying and vengeful of the Olympians. To protect what she loves most, Circe must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man's world.





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REVIEW

I had heard high praise for the "Song of Achilles" the first book by Madeline Miller. Yet I decided to begin with Circe. I have quite a big knowledge of Greek mythology, and I was very curious about this mythological figure who is just mentioned in Odyssey.

Beginning from her time of birth, Circe becomes a witness to the great mythological events as a witch-goddess; from Prometheus to the Minotaur and from Jason and Medea to Odysseus. I was very happy to see the accurate descriptions, how Circe's life was a true hardship, from her brothers and sister to her non-existent parents. Gods are truly vain, pitiful creatures.

But my surprise came after the end of Odysseus's arc of the story. Few know about the ancient poem which narrates what happens after the end of Odysseus's adventures and I was very happy to see Circe becoming a part of it and rediscovering the meaning of love and having a family again.

Truly a masterpiece, I praise Madeline's amazing writing and glorious depicture of the mythological Greek world.
And on a side note, I did listen to the audiobook of the "Song of Achilles". Let's just say that I became a puddle of tears.




About the author:

Madeline Miller was born in Boston and grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. For the last ten years she has been teaching and tutoring Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students. She has also studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA, where she teaches and writes. The Song of Achilles is her first novel.










Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.






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REVIEW



I truly enjoyed Leah's story! She is a fellow manga and anime lover, reads fanfiction and has a huge crush that almost went unrequited. Also, I got to see my beautiful sweethearts Simon and Bram!

There's a lot of drama in this book too. Despite Leah having a tight-knit of friends she still feels that sometimes she lacks in comparison to her friends. I do believe that she should be a little better to her mom though.

And there were moments where I laughed and felt sad for her because there are teens like Leah in the world who want to feel accepted and loved for who they really are, be it for their body or sexuality.




About the author:

Becky Albertalli is the author of the acclaimed novels Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (film: Love, Simon), The Upside of Unrequited, and Leah on the Offbeat. She is also the co-author of What If It's Us with Adam Silvera. A former clinical psychologist who specialized in working with children and teens, Becky lives with her family in Atlanta.

You can visit her online at www.beckyalbertalli.com.









Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads

New York Times Bestseller!

At once provocative, terrifying, and darkly subversive, Dread Nation is Justina Ireland's stunning vision of an America both foreign and familiar—a country on the brink, at the explosive crossroads where race, humanity, and survival meet.

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever.

In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.

But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It's a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston's School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose.

But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. 

And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.




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REVIEW

Imagine if America you knew mostly from "Gone with the Wind" actually got the zombie apocalypse. Because that's what happens in Dread Nation. While in the American Civil War, the dead rise and the war takes a different course as everyone now must fight the dead.

Jane is a black girl who under the Native and Negro Education Act, must attend a special school and become educated in all the fine ways a young lady must act; being polite and how to cut off zombie heads. And Jane is a tough girl who doesn't conform to her surroundings and doesn't hesitate to say so.

If I were by her side I'd high five her.

Because the story takes quite a fast turning of events, you get to see also many cruel sides of the human nature. Black and Native American people are treated almost like slaves, the children taken from the tribes are stripped away from their cultural heritage and become trained soldiers while girls like Jane become Attendants, the ones who protect the pretty little white ladies of the rich families.

And the sad part? There were scientists at the 18th-19th century who believed that black people and the Native Americans were different species or primitive ape who didn't develop quite well, so they had the right to civilize them. Search it, people, it's true.

While on the other hand there is almost no romance in this book, there are some indications that something will happen in the next book. I really can't wait to read it!




About the author:

Justina Ireland enjoys dark chocolate, dark humor, and is not too proud to admit that she’s still afraid of the dark. She lives with her husband, kid, and dog in Pennsylvania. She is the author of Vengeance Bound and Promise of Shadows.















Beyond a Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads

The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, Princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores.

The people of Mide have thankfully always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately, a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn, but the entire world.

Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle the two might have a chance to save their world.

With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love…even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all.
 





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REVIEW

An amazing story set in the medieval Britain where the Normans arrive! Filled with mythology, battles, treachery, and romance this book was a very nice surprise! I loved how Ciara and Leif began from enemies, then turned into allies and then they fell for each other.

I surely enjoyed seeing a young woman like Ciara being a warrior, defending her home and family, despite all the prejudice she received from her clansmen. There are many surprises in the book which I won't spoil but I do recommend it! It's a really good one!




About the author:


Once upon a time, Jessica Leake was a psychotherapist, but even though she loved her clients, she couldn't stop writing. She wrote and wrote until she got her first book published, and then she wrote some more. In between all that writing she had four beautiful and hilarious children with her husband (best friend and man she's known since high school; also hilarious), moved back to her adopted hometown of Greenville, SC, built a chicken coop, and got a bunch of chickens that poop breakfast every morning. She also has two dogs to keep the chickens in line. (The dogs made her write that last bit.)