Monday, November 30, 2015

Musing Mondays (41) What I'm Reading

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Jenn at A Daily Rhythm, that asks you to muse about something book related each week.

My Musings for the Week...

I have an ARC to finish, but that review won’t be going up for a while. So, for my musing’s this fine Monday morning, I’m going to share about the book I will read this week: The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas. After the ending of book one, The Burning Sky, I'm excited to continue on with this trilogy.

The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy, #2)About the book (Synopsis from goodreads)… 

After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in.

Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother's prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future...

What are you reading this week?

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Friday 56 (45) The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice where every Friday you pick a book and turn to page 56 or 56%, and select a sentence or a few, as long as it's not a spoiler. For the full rules, visit the the page HERE

My 56 this week comes from The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. The quote below is from page 51 instead since page 56 is an illustration.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

An orphan and a thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy train station. He desperately believes a broken automation will make his dreams come true. But when his world collides with an eccentric girl and a bitter old man, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy...

The Invention of Hugo Cabret"Reluctantly, one by one, Hugo pulled out dozens of objects: screws and nails and bits of metal, gears and crumpled playing cards, tiny pieces of clockworks, cogs, and wheels."--The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick 

What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Review: The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas

The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1)Title: The Burning Sky
Author: Sherry Thomas
Source/Format: Won, Hardcover 
More Details: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Balzer + Bray, September 17, 2013

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning...

Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she's been told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the most powerful tyrant and mage the world has ever known. This would be a suicide task for anyone, let alone a reluctant sixteen-year-old girl with no training.

Guided by his mother's visions and committed to avenging his family, Prince Titus has sworn to protect Iolanthe even as he prepares her for their battle with the Bane. But he makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the tyrant closing in, Titus must choose between his mission—and her life...
“It all began with a ruined elixir and a bolt of lightning…”

That quote above pretty much sums up what happened to the main character of this novel. A ruined elixir accompanied by a bolt of lightning from there Iolanthe Seaborne was in trouble, lots of it.

This is one trilogy I’ve been meaning to start and I’m glad that I finally got around to it. That is to say I enjoyed The Burning Sky. There were a lot of aspects I liked, including the setting and all of the details typically associated with fantasy—magic, interesting creatures, etc.—thus, this was my kind of novel.

Iolanthe was a pretty interesting character with some faults. Despite repeated warnings she ended up doing stuff that landed her in some pretty hot water. The antagonists of the book had a lot of influence and resources so obviously this presented a roadblock to Iolanthe—who was basically without many connections. Titus, I liked him—yes he was a prince, but his backstory was of interest to me, and I hope to learn more about his mother in the next book. It would be an understatement to say that his mother had a minimal role because despite being deceased, the lingering clues to her life left a big shadow across the entire story—so much so that she might as well have been there anyway.

The book was easy to get into and the plot was pretty good. The Burning Sky relies heavily on the chosen one trope, but I didn’t mind it too much because I was more interested in how the story was going to unfold. After all, Iolanthe was pretending to be a boy while the antagonists were practically on her heels. I don’t have any comments about the pacing of the plot because this was a pretty solid novel. There were enough details to keep me interested—plenty of small things that happened around the central focus of the story.

I still have some questions—about the antagonists, Titus’ mother, and even some regarding Iolanthe herself—so I look forward to reading The Perilous Sea, which I plan on doing very soon.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Musing Mondays (40) Trilogies & Random Weekly Questions

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Jenn at A Daily Rhythm, that asks you to muse about something book related each week.

My Musings for the Week...

I haven’t done a Musing Monday in a while so here goes nothing. First I’m going to start with some of the random weekly questions that I missed.

Have you ever chosen a book, mostly because of its cover art, and then regretted it because the content didn’t live up to your expectations?

I try not to look at the covers when I’m deciding which books to get, even though there have been some nice ones this year. But I try not to judge books that way and instead look at the synopsis, check out any excerpts that might be available on retailer websites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, or on the authors’ website. I usually consider the books for a while before I decide what to do. I focus on how much I want the book, which is ultimately the deciding factor. So, I don’t really remember the last book I might have bought just based off the cover, but I do know that I haven’t done so in a very long time.

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)What has been your most favorite book, so far, this year? Why?

Oh man, I’ve read so many great books this year—The Madman's Daughter, Coraline, The Halloween Tree, Finding Serendipity, just to name a few. But I guess I’ll talk about a recent one that I’ve already reviewed. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff had a lot going for it. One, the illustrations were nice. Two, the style that was used to tell the story is one of my favorites. And three, It was a solid book that was highly entertaining—there were a lot of details that I found interesting. It was definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Other musings...

I do like standalone novels but I also enjoy trilogies for many typical reasons: I get to see more of the characters who ended up being my favorites, more time for the story to develop, and of course more books written by my favorite authors.

The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy, #1)The Perilous Sea (The Elemental Trilogy, #2)The Immortal Heights (The Elemental Trilogy, #3) 

I recently started The Elemental Trilogy by Sherry Thomas, starting with The Burning Sky. And I already have The Perilous Sea and The Immortal Heights, so I plan on finishing this trilogy very soon.
The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1)Never Fade (The Darkest Minds, #2)In The Afterlight (The Darkest Minds, #3)

The Darkest Minds trilogy (The Darkest Minds, Never Fade, and In the Afterlight) by Alexandra Bracken is also a good one.

The Eye of Minds (The Mortality Doctrine, #1)The Rule of Thoughts (The Mortality Doctrine, #2)The Game of Lives (The Mortality Doctrine, #3)

And finally, The Mortality Doctrine Trilogy by James Dashner (The Eye of Minds, The Rule of Thoughts, and The Game of Lives, which recently came out). This trilogy had some faults, but I did enjoy it.

So, what are some of your favorite trilogies? Or what are some of the best books you've read in 2015?

Friday, November 20, 2015

ARC Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)Title: Illuminae
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Source/Format: First In Line, Hardcover ARC
More Details: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher/Publication Date: Knopf Books for Young Readers, October 20, 2015
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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...
I kind of have a lot to say. You’ve been warned...

I’m going to be honest, if Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff was a movie I would see it, not just that, I would buy the DVD. In short, this book was awesome, and I consider it to be one of the best I’ve read in 2015 and a new favorite.

The way the story was told was something I was immediately interested in. It was told through a mixture of different things—emails, interviews, classified files, illustrations of the ships, and so on—it was a style I enjoyed. The mixture of different mediums added another layer to the story. One of my favorite aspects of science fiction is the technology—ships, weapons, etc.—so it was pretty cool getting to see them in illustrated form.

The story itself was also exciting, with plenty of action. It follows Kady Grant and Ezra Mason—who used to date but broke up at the beginning of the book—as they survive in space after the destruction of their home. But what once seemed like a good escape plan quickly took a turn for the worst. Like, worst case scenario type bad. The troubles started early on in the book—surviving the evacuation of the planet being the least of their problems—it’s what came after that had me hooked. Despite the length of this book there wasn’t a part that I found boring. There was always something going on.

As far as characters go, Kady was pretty cool. She was by far one of my favorite aspects of the story. People deal with grief differently and the same thing could be said about Kady, she reacted to the events of the novel differently than some of the other characters. Though all of them experienced loss at some point of the novel and grieved in different ways as they adjusted to their situation. Ezra was also interesting and I liked seeing the two characters interact with one another. The conversations were especially entertaining.

The villain wasn’t just one person specifically but many different things that stemmed from the beginning of the book and continued to have a ripple effect across the entire novel. I would (kind of) call them immediate consequences and unforeseen difficulties. That’s the best way I can describe them without going into detail.

While the ending was pretty solid, I look forward to seeing what happens next. Suffice to say, Illuminae was a great opening to this trilogy.
This copy of the book was provided by First In Line (publisher) for this review, thank you!
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