First Line(s): She was lying on a burning pyre, hot coals beneath her back.
FAIREST is a novella in Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series that was published between CRESS (my review) and WINTER but chronologically comes before CINDER (my review). FAIREST tells the background of Levana from her days as a teenager in her sisters court until not long after she becomes queen of Luna. Its a prequel story and can act almost as a standalone and for me its a book that I wish I had skipped. In the Lunar Chronicles books Levana is the big bag, the character that is the most feared and the ultimate evil that Cinder and her merry band of misfits has to beat. But in FAIREST Levana comes across as a paranoid, obsessed, and not quite on her rocker. She's more pathetic than terrifying and as such she looses something in my eyes as a result.
What was interesting about FAIREST was the background it gives of events that happen before Cinder and company are born. Its interesting to see Luna's side of the conflict with Earth and the origins of the idea behind Letimosis. There are seeds in this story that turn into story lines in the main series books and its also interesting to see some of the characters before they were teenagers. As a whole though I don't really see the point of FAIREST in the series and if you aren't totally in love with the Lunar Chronicles then you might want to skip it as I wish I had done.
The narrator for FAIREST is the same as in the other books, Rebecca Soler, and I almost wish that they had chosen a different voice for Levana as a way to separate her from the rest of the characters. FAIREST is the darkest of the Lunar Chronicles books and Soler's voice is almost too light for the story. Though as a whole I do always enjoy what Soler brings to this series and its part of why I keep returning to the audio versions of the book. Especially since I tried and failed many times to get into the print version of FAIREST.
Place(s) Traveled To: Kerenzie IV and Deep Space via the Alexander and Hypatia (Year: 2575)
First Line(s): "So here's the file that almost killed me, Director."
When I first picked up ILLUMINAEby Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff I wasn't sure what to expect but I do adore a good sci-fi and I was intrigued by the mixed media concept. So I crossed my fingers that I wouldn't be disappointed by another poorly done sci-fi story and I dove in expecting to read this one slowly over the course of the month.
Well the joke was on me because it wasn't long before I found myself unable to put this book down. I was totally immersed in ILLUMINAE and this series of gives pretty much sums up how I felt once I was fully invested in the story:
Seriously. I was a puddle of emotion and even now I find it really hard to put all my thoughts into words. This book just took me by surprise and even now long after I've finished it I am still locked in its grip. There is action and mystery and horror and romance and suspense and just so much more. The books formatting makes for a quick read and while there are times when mixed media can feel cold and impersonal in a book it really works well with this story. Despite the entire story being told in "found documents" (emails, video transcripts, IMs, etc) you really get to know all of these characters. Oh how I felt for Kady and Ezra and OH MY STARS how terrified I became of Aidan!
ILLUMINAE is a book that took me totally by surprise and literally made me gasp aloud. I can't tell you the last time that happened with a book. It also brought me to tears and made my heart ache so very much. It was filled with everything that I love in a story and was also so much more. The story...the characters...the setting...it was just all so right and even though this book is 600 pages in length I devoured this book in just 2 days. And let me tell you the ending...oh that ending...it was the worst part. Cliffhanger.
Which I hate because I have the patience of gnat but at the same time it was just so fitting for the story. ILLUMINAE is filled with lots of delightful twists and turns and I can not wait to see where things will go in the next book. This is one of those books that you really need to read to understand just how amazing it was and if you trust my reviews at all then trust when I tell you that you need to read this book. It was just that good.
Place(s) Traveled To: Cortege, unknown // Fairfield
First Line(s): The little girl limps to our car.
Please Remain Calm is a followup novella to Courtney Summer's 2012 zombie novel, This is Not a Test (my review.) It picks up immediately where This is Not a Test leaves us and gives us all a hint on what happens to Sloane and Rhys. Unlike This is Not a Test, Please Remain Calm is told from the point of view of Rhys and I think I liked the story a bit better as a result. I liked being in Rhys's head and seeing things through his eyes. He's a little more hopeful than Sloane and even though the world around them is falling apart he still holds out hope for humanity and for life.
The journey that Sloane and Rhys take in this novella isn't an easy one. Life outside the school is rough and fraught with dangers similar to those that you see if you watch The Walking Dead. And like with the tv show its more other people that you have to worry about than the brainless zombies that infest the world. There is danger around ever corner and Courtney Summers excels at keeping the reader on the edge of ones seat. Nowhere is safe and the uninfected are far and few between and there is no telling who you can trust.
For a short novella, Please Remain Calm, feels longer and while I wished that there were more pages I was satisfied with how things played out. Even if I didn't always agree with the choices that Summers made. But that's what I like about a Courtney Summers book. You never know what she is going to do and she does often take the unexpected path. She could give everyone a happily ever after and tie everything up in a neat little bow but that isn't real life and that isn't what I expect from a book by Summers. I like that her books are raw and emotional. I like how they always make you feel something. If you liked This is Not a Test then you will have to read this book. Its not enough, its never enough, but its something more than what we had before.
First Line(s): No one wears white wedding dresses anymore.
THE BOOK OF IVY by Amy Engel is one of those books that I hadn't heard much about until I recieved an ARC of its sequel THE REVOLUTION OF IVY (goodreads). It was also around that time that talk about BOOK OF IVY started to appear in my social media streams and while I haven't been much into dystopian reads of late I decided to give this one a chance. Like most YA dystopians THE BOOK OF IVY is very thin on details. There isn't a whole lot of world building or history given to why the world is how it is. As a reader you are immediately thrust into the every life of this society that has formed in the bones of the former United States and its up to the reader to figure out what's going on.
At first, I thought THE BOOK OF IVY was going to be a standard 'girls are only good for making babies' sort of story which is all too common a theme in YA dystopia and so I was hesitant on the story. But then there was just something about this one that really lulled me into its pages. Amy Engel's writing is seductive even as it doesn't have a ton of substance behind the words. I found myself engrossed in Ivy's story and found this book really hard to put down. I liked her struggle between what she had been raised to do and what she wanted to do. And most of all I liked Bishop.
Bishop is one of those book boyfriends that I'm surprised I don't hear much about. He's smart and funny and he appreciates Ivy for who she is. He doesn't have lofty expectations of her nor does he expect her to be a simpering housewife with him the general of the household. He's sweet and caring and the sort of character that you really wish you could meet in real life. He's the bright light in an otherwise cliched and fairly typical YA dystopian novel.
THE BOOK OF IVY is what I'd call a brain candy read and would be perfect for a day at the beach. It doesn't take a lot of thought and makes for a good distraction. Its a really fast read with a likable main character even though it does lack for a bit of a plot. As I said the writing is seductive so while you are reading the story its easy to forgive its flaws and just get lost in the nuances and flow of the words. THE BOOK OF IVY is one that I think would be great on audio with the right narrator as it really is a lyrical story. I was invested enough in Ivy's story to read the sequel but its not a series that will win any awards. If you like YA dystopian then you'll probably enjoy THE BOOK OF IVY. I also think those new to dystopia will enjoy it as well.
First Line(s): I never took to fighting like the others.
To say that finding the words to write my review of Reborn by Jennifer Rush was a difficult thing is an understatement and I've been searching for them since I finished this book. Reborn takes us back to the world and story that was begun in Altered (my review) only this time we get Nick's point of view. Nick, oh the amazingly taciturn soul of few words and who I've been longing to know more about since his first grunt in Altered. And let me tell you, it may have taken 3 books and 2 novellas but Jennifer Rush does not disappoint when it comes to Nick's story. It was everything that I hoped for and more. Reborn was a book that made me smile, it broke my heart, and it also gave me all those happy heart achy feels that I love in books. There was action and romance and just so many things that it really is hard to find the words without spoiling this story.
I really love the Altered series and I think that it gets better and better as it goes on. The first two books are told from Anna's point of view and focus more on her and Sam. Reborn changes things up by not just focusing on Nick but also becoming an alternating POV with him and Elizabeth. I loved this style and now kind of wish that Alteredand Erased had done the same as I'd love to be able to see into Sam's head. Elizabeth is a new character to the series and she adds in a nice balance to Nick. They are very much a yin and yang to the other and give each other balance. Elizabeth helps to bring out Nick's softer side and Nick helps bring out Elizabeth's strength.
Reborn is a fast paced story and if I had the time I would have been able to read the whole thing in a day. There is a lot that goes on in this story but what I love about Jennifer Rush's writing style is that she is able to maintain the mystery and keeps the reader guessing as the story unfolds. It was filled with intrigue and questions and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to see where it would all end up. Seriously, this series is one of my favorites and I really hope that there will be more books coming. After all Trev and Cass need to find their happily ever afters too. Plus there is still just so much to learn about the past of all of these boys and what the Branch will do next.
The differences between the show and the GN mess with my brain on occasion...like how we already have Tyrese in the picture and there is no Daryl. HowThe differences between the show and the GN mess with my brain on occasion...like how we already have Tyrese in the picture and there is no Daryl. How they call the zombies, zombies and not walkers. How the events at the farm didn't span more than one book...and glen and all the rest. Starting to get into a grove of it those and liked this one more than the first. ...more