Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyers

Goodreads Challenge progress: 2 out of 25

Next up in the reading adventures is Cinder, which is the first book in The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyers. I’ve heard some really great stuff about this book. However, there is always a fear nowadays as I’m starting to realize that I’m breaking away personally from the YA books and starting to not enjoy them as much, but this book does have the twist on a fairy tale that I have yet to break out of.

Let’s check it out!

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)
by: Marissa Meyers

Cinder

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. – Goodreads

Consider me a little biased but I love it when people manage to twist up something and then set it into somewhere in China. In this case, the setting is in New Beijing and for the most part, there are some fun little bits to make it all work out in this new setting. Props to Marissa Meyers for her wonderful world building for this futuristic world where people are living on planets and much like history repeats itself, New Beijing is plagued with a disease that the kingdom is trying to find a cure for. However, the twist here is that there are also cyborg-like people which have been mended back through robotics to function making this part human and part cyborg and that is what our main character Cinder is. The world and characters here are very much livened up because of Marissa Meyers fantastic descriptive writing style. She manages to paint the world so that the reader can see in their heads what is going on.

Aside from that, Cinder is a very well-constructed character. She has quite the character and has a nice balance between her emotional sensitivity and her intelligence which works well for her story here. She has to keep certain secrets as she learns more about her background while adapting to the new situations she gets caught up in whether with her stepmother/guardian or her sisters or the prince or even the Queen of Luna. On top of that, we also see where Prince Kai stands in this mess as he figures out the dilemma he is faced with when the disease takes away his father and what seems like the only solution tests who he can actually trust in the kingdom. There are conflicts and secrets and mysteries at every turn. While there are more than enough clues to hint at what the end game is making it slightly more predictable than I would have like, it still is fairly clever for what the story it is trying to tell.

Cinder was an absolute page turner. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I read a Young Adult novel and was that caught up in a story. There is a great world-building and character arcs and while this book focuses on Cinder, the next books in the series will introduce other popular fairy tale characters and their twists. It seems that they will eventually cross paths as this one also introduces another fairy tale character. Its definitely one I’m looking forward to reading the second book.

Book Review: Gemina (The Illuminae Files 02) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Let’s take a break from Fantasia Festival madness and get  a book review in! You may  not need it, but I absolutely do! 😉

Gemina is the sequel of Illuminae, the first book of The Illuminae Files (as you can see in the cover below). I read Illuminae earlier this year and totally loved it. If you want to know why, you can read all about it in my review HERE.

Gemina
(The Illuminae Files 02)
by: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Gemina

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands. – Goodreads

Gemina is an exhilarating ride. A fantastically amazing one. This author duo has truly created a writing style that works truly remarkably. Presenting the story through dossiers and recordings are amazing. In fact, I remembered talking at the end of the review of the first book.avoit how it was hard to make that one into a movie and I was honestly disappointed in that choice. On the contrary, Gemina is so descriptive making everything so vivid that while it will be hard to live up to the images of everyone, with the right director, this one could be a fun ride. It might be because it embraces Die Hard set in a dystopian future in space and adds in am an Alien theme with their creatures. The idea is that they can take the first book to have enough success to get this one made also. I’m a little more excited about the idea.

What works for both of these books is how they choose to lay it out. The different recordings and files give you juat enough to understand what is going on but also leaves gaps and blindspots as to what is going on behind the scene and that creates mystery. Continuing after the first book, this hops onto another space carrier and with new characters, however having still managing to comnect to the characters in the first book. That is important as it gives a continuity to the story. It makes the readers care about this world because the new pair of characters are every bit as intriguing to read as they come to life also, two very different people from the first but still with equally intriguing stories that make them survivors but also human. Hanna and Nik are two acquaintances wrapped up in a lot of stereotypes and prejudices towards each other and grow to see each other more.

Its amazing how the Illuminae Files series has embodied so much. Other than the characters, it definitely feels like there is a lot of unanswered questions. The virus in part one, the creatures in part two, the secret agenda from Beitech: the main question at the end is a lot of why’s. Hopefully we will get the answers soon to pull everything together in the third book.

Overall, I love Gemina. There’s so many great things about it that makes it incredible. Not quite as mindblowing as Illuminae however still very awesome.

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

We’re somewhat back on track with the Goodreads challenge now. It shows that I’m a book ahead but then I can’t seem to fix the problem that it has the same book twice. Plus, I read a lot of short stories and comics so I’m not sure those really count as one book. Its slightly cheating. Although, with my TBR list somewhat mapped out, I feel like I’m most likely to go over at the current moment. Who knows, right? I could go into one of those lack of motivation phases and just not read for a month. Up next is a book review of All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. As I read this one, I couldn’t help but compare it to Thirteen Reasons Why, mostly because it also features youth and mental illness and how the two authors took a different angle and built different characters essentially.

Let’s check it out!

All the Bright Places
by: Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the ‘natural wonders’ of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself – a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.  – Goodreads

Before I start the actual review, I’d like to start with this bit. I’m on record to not have enjoyed Thirteen Reasons Why. You can check out the review HERE.  As I think back to it frequently, its mostly because of Hannah Baker and how I find her a manipulative character in general. I haven’t seen the series and I can’t comment on it if that is what you are basing any opinions on. I always get a little worried when I approach books about mental illness because its a very touchy subject and a lot of people who has these illnesses will become very defensive about it. So I’m going to say that while I didn’t enjoy Thirteen Reasons Why, I appreciate what it was trying to do and the issues it was trying to highlight. If the character resounded more to you, that’s great. I’m happy to hear that it did because it means that someone related to it and it did its job. Now we’re aren’t here to talk about Thirteen Reasons Why but All the Bright Places and with that said, I’d like to highlight why I think this book works better at highlighting youths and mental illness, while trying to bring forth the same issues.

All the Bright Places is about two young ones who meet on the sixth story roof of their school and for their own reasons, they both end up getting off. Who saves the other is unknown at that moment and its with this starting point that this unlikely friendship begins. First off, that descriptions says way too much, making the mystery of the story vanish because its so obvious what will happen. I really dislike stories that make descriptions who say too much. However, All the Bright Places is a page-turner. There is no doubt about it. While primarily their problems and their inner struggles make them intriguing to read, Violet and Theodore are compelling because of that. In many ways, both are learning to live in the present and remember that there is more to life than running away from the past or finding ways to escape the present. Not all people who suffer some form of mental illness can’t be saved, but sometimes, it takes someone with a careful eye to notice these little details and that is exactly what this story highlights, how a lot of people don’t know how to differentiate when someone needs help. They may not reach out or they may not be noticed and sometimes people will just label them with an excuse that describes who they are in an awkward or weird way. And sometimes, mental illness does become the world of the person who lives with it whether they like it or not. I’m speaking of this last part through personal experience of people I know and things that has happened to them and how various parts of how Theodore and Finch’s dialogue resounded to me.

These types of books are very personal experiences in some ways. However, All the Bright Places is very cleverly executed. It creates two characters and uses their search for the natural wonders around them to invoke the sense of discovery and how there is more to see and worth living for regardless of how big or small. It also emphasizes how while part of the fight is with support from others, in many ways, their inner struggles had to be overcame by themselves and with some good professional help. I’m not sure if this is trying to have a social statement about how schools don’t have a good enough psychiatric help or that there are lacking of resources and knowledge of these issues in teenagers. It might even be a statement about how parents (or family in general) sometimes don’t pay as much attention as they should to their children as they deal with their own issues. There might not even be a statement but just that sometimes, a little notice of the details of the people you see day in and out, whether its a friend or family could go a long way. All the Bright Places depicts it well that certain symptoms can be nudged off as a character trait, awkward or odd or just how that person is because its a familiar thing, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t something that can alarm others to give a helpful nudge before its too late.

I’ve went off a tangent now. Overall, All the Bright Places is a great story that does very well in showing how mental illnesses can be misunderstood easily. It serves as a reminder to notice the ones we love more. It also serves to say that sometimes, those with mental illness might not even acknowledge that they have it and don’t know when to seek help and sometimes, there is nothing you can to stop their actions. Whatever it is that you relate to in this story or pick up, its a rather personal experience. In a more objective way, All the Bright Places brings out two characters that are very different and dealing with different issues, living in different realities and create a story where they search for wonders as they both search for the will to keep living and moving forward each day. Who says whom in the beginning, what is the reality of the situation, what are these individuals thinking of, what inner struggles are they truly dealing with, who are they and which part of their personality is because of their mental illnesses; these are all questions that it poses and will be swimming through your mind as you read it. Sometimes, it’ll make you smile a little as the characters find happiness and contentment in what they do and sometimes, you might feel a tug in your heartstrings as they go through their inner battles. Whatever it is, All the Bright Places is a well-executed and well-written young adult novel with compelling characters.

**As an after note, I have read some of the Goodreads reviews on why some people have changed their mind and rated this poorly, which made me think about the characterization of not only Violet and Theodore but also the people around them, I’d like to say that with my experiences, I feel like this book strikes a chord with me and does portray and highlight the mental illness issue very well in these characters. **

Imminent Danger: And How to Fly Straight Into It by Michelle Proulx

A note to remember that the version I read of Imminent Danger: And How to Fly Straight Into It is the older version. It is entirely my fault as I bought the version a few years back and never got around to reading it.  The author, Michelle Proulx also has a blog in this community and you can find it right HERE. It is actually through a blogger’s book tour a few years back that I found this novel.

Imminent Danger: And How to Fly Straight Into It
by: Michelle Proulx

Imminent Danger: And How to Fly Straight Into It

High school junior Eris Miller thinks she’s having a bad day when her roommate’s boyfriend catches her stepping out of the shower wearing nothing but a towel. Then she gets abducted by scaly six-armed aliens with a strange fondness for the color blue, and her day suddenly gets a whole lot worse…As they race across the galaxy, outrunning a villainous figure from Varrin’s past, Eris begins to realize that their relationship is putting her planet, her life and her heart in imminent danger. She knows that trusting Varrin could prove deadly … but what other choice does she have? – Goodreads

As I slowly fall out of love for the Young Adult genre, there are still charming books with lots of heart that catches my attention. Michelle Proulx constructs her story for Imminent Danger: And How to Fly Straight Into It in a captivating way. There are flaws and that mostly goes to some clunky and/or cheesy dialogue, but the world she imagines in space and the creatures are vivid and brutal and versatile. It is a space that I’d like to visit eventually and kind of envy our main character Eris to have the chance to even though most of the creatures are quite unforgiving, cruel or downright dangerous. She takes the readers on a journey through space with a huge focus on our main three characters here. Most of the novel is watching Eris make her decisions and how she feels about certain situations in a third person perspective and that works fine.

This where I need to talk about Eris. I think its a problem sometimes for my falling out of love with Young Adult thing here and justifies why the dialogue doesn’t work so well as mentioned above. It is because I need to constantly remind myself and forgive the character of Eris that she is only seventeen years old and I’m almost double her age. However, when I do manage to put myself in her shoes, there are quite a few similarities between myself and Eris. Eris isn’t a weak character, just inexperienced and she has very honorable traits despite her naivety. It can all be explained by her youth and lack of real world experiences. Not to mention out of the world experiences. She still has so much to learn and she does because her character development is noticeable throughout the story.

 However, the other two characters on this journey are equally notable. While our main male character in this is a little textbook Prince Charming with a twist and his name is Varrin, he does have an endearing character although we don’t really learn a lot about him. He could use a little more knowledge which I’m hoping will be visible in the sequel (which is released). Varrin is a good character mostly because his dialogue is the most fun to read. However, the character with the most charisma has to go to somewhat of a sidekick supporting character Miguri who is this quiet and easily frightened alien species that warrants a lot of our love and even pity because his story is a touching one of how he has ended up all alone.

Overall, Imminent Danger has a few predictable parts but not a lot of young adult books (at least the ones I have read) is about aliens and definitely not touching alien abduction that takes a turn for the abnormal. Space and the worlds Eris and her companions travel to are done well and engaging. It never drags even if the dialogue sometimes emphasis on Eris’s naivety too much, however it does contribute to the fact that I am not the targeted audience anymore. While that is the case, the character development of Eris, Varrin and Miguri are done well enough. I know I talk a lot about self-containment in stories and this one doesn’t have that issue at all. It remains self-contained and hints at a sequel but never leaves us hanging, however I do hope that the sequel will give us a little more on Varrin’s backstory or Miguri and maybe some more planets.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Next up is the first book I read from Rainbow Rowell.  I’ve been heading a lot of talk about all the books from Fangirl and especially Eleanor and Park and how it torn the readers apart and an amazing YA romance and all that stuff.  I’m always down for a good romance even if I have to say that so far, a lot of books haven’t quite hit the spot.  Maybe its because I’m getting older and even if I like reading YA and children’s book, I’m starting to get a little fed up of lack of originality. I’m extremely forgiving of it and I easily fall for a good love story and even then, I’ve been in the lower than average group for feedback.  I’m thinking its just a phase but who knows. Eleanor and Park is supposed to be different so I’m hoping that it will be! 🙂

Let’s check it out!

Eleanor and Park
by: Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.
Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.-Goodreads

Eleanor and Park is definitely something special.  Maybe its because everyone says how amazing it is that I had higher expectations than I should so it didn’t quite me blow me away so much or its because I keep noticing how this story feels like a Taiwan TV drama or something except with a more bittersweet or tearing you apart reality to it.  Eleanor and Park is about first love and being different and first impressions and all that high school stuff we encounter.  Eleanor and Park are beautiful characters and its goes to the extent of even different cultures and social standings of coming from different families and backgrounds.  There’s a “real” drama to it that makes us know that the breaking up is almost inevitable and it makes us feel kind of like a first love where you want it to last even when you know it won’t but at the same time, you can’t help but to hope that the odds are with you and not against you.  I think that’s the power of the story of Eleanor and Park and what makes it even better is the way it ends.  I think that part is important to the experience so I don’t want to go any deeper about it so to not spoil it for anyone that hasn’t read it.

Eleanor and Park does the best in giving us some very great characters in Eleanor and Park.  Eleanor is an oddball who comes from a pretty bad family background with a mom that doesn’t seem to care and being away because she wanted to escape her stepfather and the bad that he is for her and her siblings.  Eleanor is in danger and we know it every time its her side of the story.  She pretty much has nothing and doesn’t really know much because she has never had the chance.  Park is the exact opposite of her and from a chance encounter on the bus, they grow into unlikely friends and takes a lot of courage to be able to become friends and more to break down barriers of the stereotypes of school and all that.  While on the surface, Eleanor and Park contrast in their backgrounds, deep down they both have their struggles at home and outside.  They both struggle with different stereotypes and they find solace in each other.  The beauty is that the best relationships are found in the simple things from what we like such as music and comic books (or anything else that is interesting and sharing them). It also shares the message that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that sometimes we are more judgmental about ourselves than others are and that makes us more sensitive but sometimes, others don’t understand the way things come off in words to someone else in whatever situation.  Those are just a few messages that this novel about young love highlights.

When I first finished Eleanor and Park, I can’t say that I didn’t feel a little frustrated because it focused a lot on the misfortunes of a young girl and the boy being the more fortunate one but giving it a while to settle and remembering it now, there are many memorable parts and the ending kind of creeps up on us unknowingly.  First loves etch a mark in our hearts and the rare first love will last but there’s something very unforgettable about Eleanor and Park and how they portray it, adding that hint of bitter and sweet to put this together so that we cheer for this young love to be together.  There are a few moments that feel a little clunky and maybe its even dragged on in some other parts and there are frustrations in some of the other characters that may or may not reflect reality (since I haven’t lived a life like Eleanor’s) but this novel definitely tries hard to dig deep into our emotions.  It didn’t exactly tear me apart but it made me feel for this story and kind of stun me a little by the final act and epilogue. It made me think more looking back at the novel than when I first put it down. It makes me wonder what a second reading would make me feel now. Maybe one day I’ll revisit it.

Have you read Eleanor and Park? Did you like it?

Book Review: Never Mind My Thigh Gap by Sarah Newton

Wow! Its been a long time since I reviewed a book.  Don’t worry. I have a few coming up but we’re here to take care of some business!

First off, I received this book in exchange for an honest review! Thanks so much for sending it to me!

Now, let’s check out this lovely book recently released on February 14th, 2016.

Never Mind My Thigh Gap
By: Sarah Newton & Bronte Huskinson

Never Mind My Thigh Gap

“One ordinary girl, one extraordinary moment” Alice is tall – just under six feet to be exact – but her self-esteem couldn’t be smaller. When her relationship starts wavering, Alice’s perfectly beautiful best friend somehow convinces her to join a modelling competition, “for a confidence boost.” But Alice is just a normal girl; she loves ice cream too much, has an unhealthy addiction to American TV and lusts after the elusive thigh gap. She can’t even walk in heels, let alone in a bikini, but she finds herself joining Runway Models anyway.  The finale is only a few months away.  Will Alice catwalk her way to self-confidence or fail, proving everyone right? People can surprise you. – Goodreads

Goodreads rating: 3/5 stars

Never Mind My Thigh Gap is a decent novel.  It reads rather well and the writing is pretty good also.  I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect going in as is usually the case with any indie books.  However, the message it wants to give is very meaningful.  When I was in high school, I could relate to what Alice was going through.  I wasn’t pretty as it was described for her here and I guess in a way, I saw a different side of what the “popular” girls were doing also.  Its a story about finding yourself, pretty much a coming of age for our main character as she learns what is valuable to her, find the self-confidence and believe that she is great the way she is, even with her obsessions and flaws.  She didn’t need to be with the popular kids and she just needed friends who would accept her for who she was no matter how different they were. The heart of the novel never gets lost in any of this.

Most YA novel does suffer a little from some story flow issues and some awkward dialogue.  Never Mind My Thigh Gap is the same thing.  However, I do believe that this is just how you’ve experienced high school or say, how each of us was as a teenager.  This book is not directed towards me and while I can remember high school even if it was over 10 years now, I never quite remembered talking like that but the idea of falling into traps and watching the cool kids and indirectly seeing their problems being rumored about and whatnot was a thing that happened.  By far, the most relatable theme that mostly any girl (or even guy) could get is the concept of self-image.  How do we perceive ourselves and how do we be comfortable and confident with not only who we are but how we look. That message getting through gets all the points for Never Mind My Thigh Gap.  I remember doing that not even just in high school but even some days now, I fall into that same thing.

However, this novel also has one thing that didn’t quite work so much for me.  It sells itself based on the Runway Model competition being the centre of where she finds herself but, we actually don’t experience a whole lot of Alice being in the competition.  It does linger in the background and a lot of the friendships and relationships are changed and warped because of her joining it but its never the competition that does any of this, or maybe I’m just missing the point. Never Mind My Thigh Gap is a story about teens going through this and just because of a situation changing their views about themselves because they opened up their world to accepting something different and finding where they belong.

Overall, Never Mind My Thigh Gap is a decent read.  It keeps its readers interested and intrigued and it carries a good message for the audience its directed to. Even if it doesn’t quite deliver on more detailed competition portion, it does do a good job at highlighting teenage high school struggles with friends and self-confidence and loyalties.

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey

Depending where you are, The 5th Wave hit theatres either last week or today.  On first look at the trailer, it looks like it has a decent premise.  With it so quickly adapted into a movie that even casts Chloe Grace Moretz, who I personally think is a potentially great young actress, The 5th Wave had me intrigued.  Mind you, so far YA novels have been rather lacking at good alien invasion movies and the trailer has hints of some very teenage cliche romance that probably is way more sappy than it needs to be.  I am rather forgiving for YA novels, mostly because I’m not exactly their target audience anymore, yet I enjoy them from time to time because it is easy reading. Still, whatever the movie has to offer I don’t know and its definitely not going to be what is to be expected in the book.

I’m still on the fence on whether to go see The 5th Wave but let’s see if the book has convinced me, shall we?

The 5th Wave
(The 5th Wave #1)
by: Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave Book

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.  Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up. – Goodreads

Goodreads score: 3/5

The 5th Wave makes me feel a little like watching The Host. The premise is there but the approach could have been a lot better.  But then, that isn’t even the issue.  You know, the troupes and the predictability and the heavy YA novel feeling. All those things was not a problem.  My biggest issue with this novel is the writing especially right at the beginning when I read this line, which probably might be a key line in the movie (who knows, right?).  Wait for it… embrace it, ok?

When you can’t trust anyone, then you can trust no one.-The 5th Wave

Writing: 10 out of 10… *rolls eyes* When I read that line, I dog-earred the page to remember where it was and closed the book. I took a little breather and found a reason to back up why I’m reading the main character’s diary and inner monologue, because the author wants us to remember that she’s an innocent high school student and reinforce that point eventually that this alien invasion has changed and toughened her up. With myself slightly convinced, I moved on with the story.

Forget the writing style, that can be adapted to. The premise is good.  It might be a little flawed at parts but I can buy that.  At least a part of it.  Not exactly how people survived 4 waves of disaster since those were pretty intense situations and somehow in all this, they got some tough-ass homes that remained standing but they do try to answer why the aliens are aggressive as they are and who they are.

After you get past that part and the story really starts moving along, the entrance of the character of Evan Walker and the other narrative by Ben Parish really makes the story much more intriguing to read.  Cassie is supposedly the main character (according to the movie) but her character seems to never be built enough to captivate my attention.  She doesn’t seem like a girl caught in an invasion trying to get back her little brother. She just seems like a teenage girl that is insecure and doesn’t trust anyone because she lost her family but yet she wants to feel loved and fall in love but also find her brother and its a constant struggle because she doesn’t know how to put her priorities in place. Does it make a difference? It kind of does to me and I really don’t know how to explain it better. Maybe its the fact that I wished her character was more consistent but then it could be trying to make her more reflective of her age and lacking the experience to actually be a soldier in this situation. So no, Cassie makes some bad choices and she’s kind of naive and in the most random situation she’ll be a teenage girl who focuses on how hot Evan is and wants to touch him.  Her character is missing something that I can’t quite grasp.

However, Ben Parish’s narrative is much better.  Its because there is this comparison that makes me question the author’s writing for Cassie because with Ben, its much better. His character is really well written and there’s a pain and struggle in his story.  There’s growth and it feels real.  Its even the surroundings and the characters around him put together with the situation he is in that makes it more intense to read. Evan Walker also makes for that mysterious feeling.  Its pretty easy to guess how everything unfolds but yet, those characters are much better developed.

In all fairness, The 5th Wave is an easy read.  The writing style doesn’t always quite work for me and some lines were really…not so well-crafted. But, the idea is there. Maybe its not all logical or probable but for any YA novel, there is a certain level of suspending our beliefs.  Cassie’s character could’ve been better developed but it was balanced off with a much better alternate storyline narrated by the other main character Ben.  The insert of loner Evan Walker was also done well.  The 5th Wave isn’t an epic or even great read.  I’m still a little lukewarm on how I feel about it.  The completionist in me might want to read the rest of the trilogy just to see what happens because that ending kind of made me wonder about one of the character’s fate.  I haven’t quite decided on that just yet. I guess we’ll see…

Before we end this post, I should address the question before the little review here.  I’m actually on the fence about the movie.  It feels like it could be impressive as a movie if they decided to keep the meat of the alien invasion although I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t the route taken.  While I don’t particularly see an issue with Chloe Grace Moretz playing Cassie since she is a good young actress, I am a little skeptical of Nick Robinson playing Ben Parish, especially after what he goes through.  There’s a level of inconsistency of what I feel like his character looks like in the novel to in the movie.  Maybe I need to watch the trailers to see what renewed feelings I have. 😉

Have you read The 5th Wave? Any thoughts? Are you planning to see The 5th Wave?

Slippery Things by Lane Baker

I have a whole lot of catching up with the reading bit so expect to see a few reviews go up during December as I rush to finish the Goodreads Reading Challenge.

Next up for reading is an independent young adult sci-fi novel by Lane Baker.

*A huge thanks to Lane for reaching out to me and sending me a copy to review.*

Slippery Things
By: Lane Baker

Slippery Things

Jaded high school Junior and detention hall regular Larissa Locke has a recurring dream in which creatures sneak into her bedroom at night to perform experiments and extract her blood. Tiny scars on her arm suggest that perhaps she isn’t just dreaming. But wait! If she’s really the victim of blood-sucking alien intruders, then why is her bedroom window still locked each morning? –Goodreads

The best part about reading is discovering all these creative and unique worlds and creatures that authors have built just with their imagination.  Some of the best books I’ve read this year have been from independent authors. Slippery Things is about aliens.  Its also one of the categories that I read very little of.  I actually can’t remember the last time I’ve read one about aliens and invasion and the likes.  Maybe Ender’s Game? That doesn’t really count.  Regardless, Slippery Things is a very fun read and an absolute page-turner.  Its not a long novel but it successfully builds up its main character, Larissa Locke and also manages to decently determine the motive behind the aliens in a good pace.

Sometimes, its okay for a novel to be short and concise.  Slippery Things grasp that point very well.  It knows how to not drag out scenes unnecessarily.  At the same time, it works hard describe vividly the creatures and the situation that Larissa is in from how she feels to her reactions.  On that point, Larissa Locke is a good character. Sometimes the dialogue was a little clunky here and there in a few small spots but overall, her character was rather realistic.  It does focus around a teenage girl and has some high school drama that goes on in the background which is completely understandable.  What is good is that its controlled well enough to not let it affect the main story that is coming to light. Actually, the story builds Larissa into a very potential bad ass character in the last few scenes.

I’m falling into spoiler territory if I keep going.  I liked Slippery Things quite a bit.  If I had to criticize Slippery Things, its that sometimes there are some clunky dialogue (that I mentioned before) and the ending sequence has one little part that I felt was a little awkward.  It summarizes an overview of the outcomes of our characters. I’m always a little not sure about how to react to those.  That is only one or two paragraphs so its not exactly a huge impact.  I guess it is because the character development went mostly to Larissa and perhaps her family.  When it came to her high school friends, I didn’t really care too much about because their parts were not as significant.  However, I find it is forgiveable because of the short length of the novel.

Overall, Slippery Things is a quick page turner about aliens. Larissa Locke is a realistic teenage girl lead who I can picture making the same decisions in her shoes.  Despite its length and some awkward dialogue, it works very well in pacing the story and creating vivid description of the character and their setting. Plus, it also does a good job at revealing the aliens and their motives. Its definitely worth a read.

TMI Podcast: David and Kim’s Random Chat about The Maze Runner

With the recent release of The Scorch Trials, David and I decided (rather last minute) to have a chat about The Maze Runner.  We haven’t yet discussed any YA stories.  While I have an immense appreciation for The Maze Runner, David didn’t. Check it out to see what we didn’t (and did) agree on.  And how it reflects on my thoughts from having read the book and from his thoughts going in with no knowledge of what will happen next.

We haven’t had a movie that we disagreed on so this was different but tons of fun.  Hope you enjoy!

 

The Revenge of Seven (Lorien Legacies #5) by Pittacus Lore

The Lorien Legacies is by far one of the most successful book series I’ve read.  I was in awe at the end of the fourth book when it was still going very strong.  Every book is a page turner, full of different point of view as narratives and this whole fictional alien war grows deeper as we learn more about Lorien and their fight against the Mogodarians.  The fourth book ended in quite a cliffhanger with a very scattered outlook that could go in any direction as they see fit.

Before we head into the review, if you missed my previous reviews of the first four books, which I only am missing review for the first book I am Number Four, you can find it here:

The Power of Six (#2)
The Rise of Nine (#3)
The Fall of Five (#4)

Let’s check this next installment out!

If you haven’t read the previous books and intend on reading this series, some spoilers may appear unintentionally so I strongly suggest you to stop!

 The Revenge of Seven
(Lorien Legacies #5)

by: Pittacus Lore

The Revenge of Seven

After the last attack, the group has been separated from each other.  Five is gone.  Marina, Nine and Six are dealing with the grief and self-blame that they didn’t do better to prevent it.  While, Four, Sam, Malcolm and an unexpected ally, Adam has joined forces with them after their escape.  Ella however is stuck with Setrakus Ra in his command center after she was kidnapped.  The Mogodarians are about to take over Earth and as each group learns more about it, they each go their separate way trying to find each other but hopefully to discover a way to save Earth from a doomed fate with Setrakus Ra. Will they succeed?

 Lorien Legacies has something that I truly appreciate in a book series.  It remembers what is key to a story and what readers are looking for.  Every book adds characters but while it is sad to lose characters, it still has to happen. Someone has to step down in some way in order for other characters to shine and have their spot.  There are always (at least) 3 different point of views which I love.  To make sure that readers don’t get confused, it uses different fonts to differentiate.  Every book features Four and Six’s point of view while moving to other one(s).  This one had Ella because she gives us a better idea of what is going on especially with how the last book end.  Four is more calm and calculating in his plans while Six balances it out with being strategic but aggressive in her approach.  At the same time, Ella is also in a separate location after being kidnapped by the Mogodarians.   With these few narratives, we can fully absorb the situation from different places and get to know those characters even more.  And that is one of the reasons I like Lorien Legacies so much.  We’ve gotten to know the characters more, especially Four and Six but everyone has a certain character to them and balance the decision making and each has the potential to surprise us one way or another.

This time, we also get exposed to Setrakus Ra, the enemy and villain. This also brings us to learn more about the history of Lorien and what came to be.  He brings on the other side of the spectrum and as the war starts also against his attempt to take over Earth, we see the strength of him and his army.  Their technology and just everything we’ve wondered about the other side of this battle.  While we know the Garde’s strength, even if its constantly changing, Setrakus Ra is one I’ve been curious to learn more about at the very least. That bit of reveal was really intriguing.

By the end of the book, the Garde and Mogodorians are finally at their end game.  Its time for war against world domination of aliens.  Weird part is no one would think that aliens would be fighting other alien species in the fight against world domination on Earth.  I guess that is what makes this fun to read.  Both Loric and Mogodorian sides are new and fresh and its a continuous journey to learn about them. However, that ending was pretty wow but a huge cliffhanger.

Good job, Pittacus Lore, creator of Lorien Legacies series.  I can’t wait to read the next one! Apparently its supposed to be the last one? The news for that seems so scattered.  Maybe one of you know more than I do.  I’ll just read them as they are released and have fun with it! 🙂

On second thought, while the movie I am Number Four bombed and didn’t get a chance to become a movie series. I was thinking that this totally would work as a TV series, like CW could really turn this into some great, seeing as they focus on this teen/YA genre already.

Have you read the Lorien Legacies series?