Mini Reviews: October Catch Up Edition

I got so behind on reading and reviewing this month! I don’t know what happened, I just ran out of time! I like to provide my reviews at least a week within the release date and that didn’t happen this month. Anywayyy, here are some of the books I meant to review earlier this month!

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Title: Illuminae

Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Publication Date: October 20, 2015

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Synopsis from Goodreads:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

When Kady and Ezra’s planet is attacked, they find themselves traveling through space to find safety. During the invasion on their planet, one of their ships was damaged. The damage messed with the ship’s AI. To top it off, when their plant was attacked, a biological weapon was used and now there is a deadly virus going spreading.

This story is told through emails, IMs, video footage, beautiful graphics, journal entries, and more. I wasn’t sure how I was going to response to a story told in this manner, but I honestly loved it. The way this story is told provides the reader with such depth and beauty. It’s not a hard book to get into.

Kady and Ezra were fantastic. Their banter was a joy to read and I especially loved the interviews of Kady and Ezra. Oh, the sarcasm was brilliant. One of the most memorable characters was AIDEN, the AI. I never realized I could hate a character so much and then learn to love it. All the feels (and confliction).

When people say you have never read a book like this before, they aren’t joking! Pick this book up today!!

5 out of 5 stars


Meet The Authors

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Amie Kaufman is the New York Times bestselling co-author of These Broken Stars and This Shattered World, and Illuminae, the first in a new series starting in 2015. She writes science fiction and fantasy for teens, and her favourite procrastination techniques involve chocolate, baking, sailing, excellent books and TV, plotting and executing overseas travel, and napping.

She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, their rescue dog, and her considerable library. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

You can find her on Goodreads, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and her website.

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Jay Kristoff is the award-winning author of The Lotus War trilogy, a Japanese-inspired steampunk fantasy. Part 3, Endsinger, is out now. He’s also co-author of the upcoming Illuminae (with Amie Kaufman), a YA Sci-Fi… thing, to be released by Knopf/Random House in 2015, and Nevernight, the first part of a new fantasy trilogy kicking off in 2016.

Jay is 6’7 and has approximately 13380 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He does not believe in happy endings.

You can find him on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and his website.

23719469Title: An Inheritance of Ashes

Author: Leah Bobet

Publication Date: October 6, 2015

Publisher: Clarion Books

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The strange war down south—with its rumors of gods and monsters—is over. And while sixteen-year-old Hallie and her sister wait to see who will return from the distant battlefield, they struggle to maintain their family farm.

When Hallie hires a veteran to help them, the war comes home in ways no one could have imagined, and soon Hallie is taking dangerous risks—and keeping desperate secrets. But even as she slowly learns more about the war and the men who fought it, ugly truths about Hallie’s own family are emerging. And while monsters and armies are converging on the small farm, the greatest threat to her home may be Hallie herself.

An Inheritance of Ashes was quite an odd story. It’s a story about a young girl, Hallie, who is trying to save her farm. There are creatures called the “Twisted Things” that keep appearing on her farm. The Twisted Things are not of their world and can be quite dangerous. Hallie hires a veteran, Heron, to have an extra set of hands on the farm.

This was an extremely slow story. It took me about two weeks to finish it and that almost never happens. I kept finding myself pick up other books instead of finishing this one. I did finish though. An Inheritance of Ashes is unlike any story I have read before, which I did enjoy. I do love a fresh story. However, that was the only thing I enjoyed about this book. I didn’t click with any of the characters. Hallie and her sister, Marthe, fought constantly. While the romance between Hallie and Tyler was realistic, there was doubt and inconsistency from the two. I felt like the characters fell short.

There never felt like there was much of a climax. There wasn’t a single moment where I became so intrigued that I could not put the book down. It just didn’t happen for me. I’m not much of a fan for slower stories, but if I can connect and relate with the characters, it’s alright. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen here.

1.5 out of 5 stars


Meet The Author

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Leah Bobet drinks tea, wears feathers in her hair, and plants gardens in back alleys. She lives in Toronto, Ontario in a house full of artists who make lots of puns, but they also bake, so it’s okay.

You can find her on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, and her website.

24605853Title: A Step Toward Falling

Author: Cammie McGovern

Publication Date: October 6, 2015

Publisher: Harperteen

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Cammie McGovern follows up her breakout young adult debut, Say What You Will, with this powerful and unforgettable novel about learning from your mistakes, and learning to forgive. Told in alternating points of view, A Step Toward Falling is a poignant, hopeful, and altogether stunning work that will appeal to fans of Jennifer Nevin, Robyn Schneider, and Jandy Nelson.

Emily has always been the kind of girl who tries to do the right thing—until one night when she does the worst thing possible. She sees Belinda, a classmate with developmental disabilities, being attacked. Inexplicably, she does nothing at all.

Belinda, however, manages to save herself. When their high school finds out what happened, Emily and Lucas, a football player who was also there that night, are required to perform community service at a center for disabled people. Soon, Lucas and Emily begin to feel like maybe they’re starting to make a real difference. Like they would be able to do the right thing if they could do that night all over again. But can they do anything that will actually help the one person they hurt the most?

A Step Toward Falling is the story of three people, Emily, Lucas, and Belinda. When Belinda decides to go a football game on her own, something terrible happens to her. There were two witnesses, Emily and Lucas. Instead of trying to help, they walk away. Now Emily and Lucas have to attend a class where they can understand people with special needs. This story follows Emily and Lucas as they try to make up for the horrible mistake they made. We also follow Belinda as she attempts to deal with what happened to her.

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but I have no idea I would enjoy this book so much! I loved how Belinda was featured as one of the main characters. I have never read a book before that has a main character with learning disabilities. I also learned a great deal about different disabilities.

I adored the main characters. Emily and Lucas, while they made a terrible mistake, they are truly remorseful for what they did. They are trying their hardest to educated themselves and find something to make Belinda feel special. I loved Belinda! She was the sweetest, most kind-hearted character I have had the pleasure of reading!

This is an eye-opening book that every single person should read. While the content is heavy, it’s real. However, this book has the sweetest ending and I will recommend it to everyone I meet!

4 out of 5 stars


Meet The Author

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Cammie McGovern is the author of the much-acclaimed YA novel Say What You Will, published in 2014. A Step Toward Falling, another YA novel featuring characters with disabilities, is coming out in October, 2015. Just My Luck, for middle-grade readers, is coming out in February 2016. She has also written three adult novels, The Art of Seeing, Eye Contact, and Neighborhood Watch and is one of the proud founder of Whole Children/Milestones, a resource center for children and young adults with disabilities and their families. She lives in Amherst, MA, with her husband and three sons, the oldest of whom is autistic.

You can find her on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, and her website.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

This is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine.  “Waiting on Wednesday” spotlights upcoming releases that I’m eagerly anticipating.

Title: Ivory and Bone

Author: Julie Eshbaugh

Publication Date: June 14, 2016

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

The only life seventeen-year-old Kol knows is hunting at the foot of the Great Ice with his brothers. But food is becoming scarce, and without another clan to align with, Kol, his family, and their entire group are facing an uncertain future.

Traveling from the south, Mya and her family arrive at Kol’s camp with a trail of hurt and loss behind them, and hope for a new beginning. When Kol meets Mya, her strength, independence, and beauty instantly captivate him, igniting a desire for much more than survival.

Then on a hunt, Kol makes a grave mistake that jeopardizes the relationship that he and Mya have only just started to build. Mya was guarded to begin with—and for good reason—but no apology or gesture is enough for her to forgive him. Soon after, another clan arrives on their shores. And when Mya spots Lo, a daughter of this new clan, her anger intensifies, adding to the already simmering tension between families. After befriending Lo, Kol learns of a dark history between Lo and Mya that is rooted in the tangle of their pasts.

When violence erupts, Kol is forced to choose between fighting alongside Mya or trusting Lo’s claims. And when things quickly turn deadly, it becomes clear that this was a war that one of them had been planning all along.

Ahhh, this book sounds amazing! I definitely have never read a book like this one before and I’m very interested to read this book!

Blog Tour: Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul – Guest Post + Giveaway

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Click on the tour banner to follow the rest of the tour!

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Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository | iTunes | Kobo

Title: Underneath Everything

Author: Marcy Beller Paul

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication Date: October 27, 2015

Synopsis:

Mattie shouldn’t be at the bonfire. She should be finding new maps for her collection, hanging out with Kris, and steering clear of almost everyone else, especially Jolene. After all, Mattie and Kris dropped off the social scene the summer after sophomore year for a reason.

But now Mattie is a senior, and she’s sick of missing things. So here she is.

And there’s Jolene: Beautiful. Captivating. Just like the stories she wove. Mattie would know; she used to star in them. She and Jolene were best friends. Mattie has the scar on her palm to prove it, and Jolene has everything else, including Hudson.

But when Mattie runs into Hudson and gets a glimpse of what could have been, she decides to take it all back: the boyfriend, the friends, the life she was supposed to live. Problem is, Mattie can’t figure out where Jolene ends and she begins.

Because there’s something Mattie hasn’t told anyone—she walked away from Jolene over a year ago, but she never really left.

Poignant and provocative, Marcy Beller Paul’s debut novel tells the story of an intoxicating—and toxic—relationship that blurs the boundary between reality and fantasy, love and loyalty, friendship and obsession.

Guest Post

What are some of the heavy issues in this book and what do you want to say to teens who are currently going through these issues?

There is an official description for UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING on the book jacket, and at Amazon, Barnes & Noble,and Goodreads, but I don’t always use it. I have an unofficial description that I save for women I meet in person. It’s only three words long: “Remember that girl?” In response I usually get an instant reaction: A tightening of the jaw. A narrowing of the eyes. “Yes,” they all say. “Yes, I know exactly who you’re talking about.” Of course, none of those girls are the same person, but they are all the same type. They were the ones with the power over us. They were the ones who made us feel the best and the worst about ourselves. We called them our friends, but they weren’t. They were toxic.

The problem is, we didn’t know it then. Because it was the first time we’d experienced it. And because we were trying to define ourselves at the same time.I mean, how are you supposed to know how much to give when you don’t know how much you’ve got to begin with? How are you supposed to know how vulnerable is too vulnerable? How much compromise crosses the line? When love is healthy and when it isn’t? Why so many songs and books and movies make love out to be this amazing thing when the reality feels like such a sucker punch? What that means about who you are?

No one can tell you. You’ve got to go through it and come out the other side. You’ve got to try things and take risks and follow your heart and give up too much and take it back again. That’s how you figure out who you are and where your line is.That’s what Mattie, the main character in UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING does. That is how she eventually finds and defines herself.

So what do I want to say to teens whoare in a toxic relationship right now? I want to ask them “Do you know that girl?” And when they tighten their jaw and narrow their eyes I want to tell them that I know her too. I want to tell them that her power isn’t real, that they’re giving it to her. That they are the ones in control.That a real friend would make them feel like more, not less. Happy, not afraid. I want to tell them that there is a way out. That they are worth it.That they are not alone.

I want to tell them so many things, but I also know that nothing I say can replace the experience of going through it and finding their own way out. Because that is how they will find themselves.


Meet The Author

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Marcy Beller Paul is a young adult author, former editor, and full-time mom who still has all the notes she passed in seventh grade (and knows how to fold them).

She graduated from Harvard University and lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children. Underneath Everything will be published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, in Fall 2015. It is her first novel.

You can find her on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and her website.

Giveaway

Win a signed first edition of Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul

(US ONLY)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books To Get You In The Halloween Mood

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at The Broke and the Bookish, and I decided to share my list with all of you also!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is Top Ten Books To Get You In The Halloween Mood! I love a good mystery/thriller book, but nothing TOO scary. All my recommendations are books that will creep you out, but they aren’t books that will make you lose sleep at night! Shall we?

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1. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

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2. This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

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3. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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4. Sweet by Emmy Laybourne

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5. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

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6. Need by Joelle Charbonneau

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7. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

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8. The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

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9. An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet

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10. Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty

I hope one of these books really gets you in the Halloween mood!!

Happy Halloween everyone!!

Review: I Crawl Through It by A.S. King

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Title: I Crawl Through It

Author: A.S. King

Publication Date: September 22, 2015

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A boldly surreal novel from one of the best YA writers working today.

Four talented teenagers are traumatized-coping with grief, surviving trauma, facing the anxiety of standardized tests and the neglect of self-absorbed adults—and they’ll do anything to escape the pressure. They’ll even build an invisible helicopter, to fly far away to a place where everyone will understand them… until they learn the only way to escape reality is to fly right into it.

I received a copy of this book for free from The Novl Newsletter in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

I Crawl Through It is a story that follows four, unique teenagers. Stanzi, the main character, loves to dissect animals, always wears her lab coat, believes she is split into two different people, and has parents who are obsessed with visiting tragic memorials. Stanzi’s best friend and neighbor, Gustav, is building an invisible helicopter. China has swallowed herself and is now inside out. Lansdale is a compulsive liar whose hair grows every time she tells a lie. There is also a man in the bush who doesn’t wear clothes and sells letters like “A” and “P” and lemonade with roofies.

This is one of the most confusing and weird books I have ever read. What did I just read? There isn’t much explaining has to why things are the way they are in this book, you just have to go with the flow of this book. While I didn’t absolutely hate this book, I didn’t particularly enjoy it either. This is the type of book that will have reviews and opinions from people all across the board. Some will hate this book, others love this book, and a small minority of people will be like me, stuck somewhere in between.

I Crawl Through It is definitely in a category all its own. It’s different, crazy, and unique. Although this book did not work for me, others have seemed to love it. This book isn’t for everyone, but you just might love it. If you are really interesting in reading this book and are a fan of A.S. King’s other works, I would suggest picking this one up.

2 out of 5 stars


Meet The Author

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A.S. King is the author of the highly-acclaimed Glory O’Brien’s History Of The Future, Reality Boy, 2013 LA Times Book Prize winner Ask The Passengers, 2012 ALA Top Ten Book for Young Adults Everybody Sees The Ants, and 2011 Michael L. Printz Honor Book Please Ignore Vera Dietz. She is also the author of the ALA Best Books for Young Adults The Dust of 100 Dogs, as well as a collection of award-winning short stories for adults, Monica Never Shuts Up.

Look for Amy’s work in anthologies Dear Bully, Break These Rules, One Death Nine Stories, and Losing It. (And brace yourself for 2015’s novel, I Crawl Through It.)

You can find her on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, and her website.