Friday, May 1, 2015

Laugh Out Loud Funny: Alienated by Melissa Landers



Just the Facts:

Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Addiction Level:  I ignored the hubby and puppies until I finished the book.
Believe-ability: It was believable.

I have been dying for a laugh-out-loud funny book. After reading the Dusk Gate Chronicles, I have also wanted to read happier stories. Alienated checks both these boxes.

Alienated is definitely one of the fastest books I have ever read while working. It took me 24 hours to complete it. I could not put it down. The story kept me involved, laughing, and intrigued.

It is hard to narrow down favorite, but these are my top two. It was hysterical seeing Cara attempt cooking food for Aelyx. She is a bad cook, and Aelyx hates everything that is not bland. She keeps tempting him and he groans with every attempt. My other favorite part is when Aelyx is playing Cara’s Puppy Love Game:
He glanced up with a pouty expression. “Something’s wrong with your game. My canine died again.”
“I haven’t played that since I was nine. Where’d you find it?”
“I don’t understand,” he said, ignoring her question.  “I fed the thing, allotted a reasonable amount of time for exercise, kept it well-hydrated. Why did it die?”
“Let me see.” She leaned over his arm to study the screen. “Oh. You didn’t give him any love.”
“Love?”
“Yeah. I don’t remember all the options, but you do little things to love your puppy…”
Cah-ra, that’s absurd.” He turned off the game and shoved it back in his pocket. “All canines, even the ones humans have domesticated, respond to an intricate social hierarchy, not affection. I asserted my status as the alpha male so the animal would know its place. Then I gave it everything it needed to survive. It shouldn’t have died.”
Keep reading to see how many puppies he killed and if any survived!

I am excited to see where the next two books (1.5) take us, but the ending is satisfactory enough that I can get back to work!

Friday, April 24, 2015

An Interview with the Ladies of Apocalypse Reads: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner





The ladies of Apocalypse Reads thought we would change it up a bit. Instead of a normal review, we have reviewed These Broken Stars interview style.  Enjoy! Let us know what you think in the comments!

How would you best describe These Broken Stars to someone who might be interested in reading it?

Rebecca:  Mysterious love story on an alien planet.  Can they and their love survive the harsh conditions they find themselves in?  Will love triumph overall?  It is also a story of perseverance and test of character.  What will harsh conditions reveal about Lilac, the heiress to the LaRoux empire, and Tarver, a young war hero?

Esso: It has been pitched as a "Titanic in Space", but I certainly disagree with that statement. Yes, there is luxury space liner that inevitably "crashes", a clash of societal classes, and the potential for a budding romance, but it is also so much more. I would describe the book as more of a survival story than a romance.

What did you like or dislike most about this book?

R:  I disliked how disconnected I felt with the characters.  I wanted more.  I also have mixed feelings about the big confrontation at the end.  While it was appropriate because of the bad guy’s lying and manipulation, I did not like the dynamics and lack of respect between parent and child.  I like the additional story line progressing in addition to the story.  The dual story lines kept me reading and made me anxious about the ending.
E: For some reason, this is a hard question for me to answer. Overall, I really enjoyed the story, but if I could name one thing that bothered me it would be that the characters didn't feel "alive" enough. I would have liked to build a more solid connection with them. One thing I did end up liking was the turn of events. I never saw it coming!

What was your experience with this book?

R:  I enjoyed reading it; I could not put it down.  I immediately read book 1.5 to get further into the series. 
E: Initially I thought that there were going to be definite spoilers because of the interrogation pages before each chapter. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that was not the case. Also, this was the only other book, aside from The Monstrumologist series, that gave me the heebie jeebies. I actually had a hard time reading it before bed. Embarrassing, but true.

Who would you recommend this book to?

R:  I would recommend this book to someone who likes survival love stories. 
E: I would recommend this book to someone who is looking for a science fiction read coupled with a survival story. Also, someone who doesn't mind a little bit of the supernatural in their stories. 

Are there any other thoughts you'd like to share with the readers of Apocalypse Reads?

R:  I wanted to keep reading this series.  Unfortunately I had to wait for it become available at the library.  I still have This Shattered World in my possession.  For some reason because I was not able to read it immediately I have yet to read it.  I would recommend all three books being available, so one can read all three at once.
E: After finishing These Broken Stars I did go on to read the short story in between books 1 and 2. I thought it shed some light on the characters from the book and was worth the read. (It's also free as an ebook!) I'm sure I will go on to finish the series.



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rough Around the Edges: The Dusk Gate Chronicles by Breanna Puttroff

 



Just the Facts:

Overall Rating: 3 stars
Addiction Level:  Spare time --> I read it every waking moment.
Believe-ability:  Some aspects were real; others were not.

~~~

It took me two years to read my best friend’s favorite series.  I declined, I was busy, I was lost in other worlds. 
Seeds of Discovery did not win me over.  In fact I was less than enthralled.  It was too slow for my action-packed self, and it had too much exposition and very little conflict.  I read it, because Book Club chose to read it, it was free, and I did not want to be a complete party pooper.  I whined while I read it…a lot…very unbecoming I know.
You must be asking yourself why did I continue?  Why would I even bother writing a review if book one was sooo bad?  Puttroff ended Seeds of Discovery in a cliff hanger!  Maybe I took it as a challenge.  In any event, I needed to know what happened next!  Book Two, Roots of Insight, satisfied my curiosity and wetted my appetite for more.  The more I read the better the series got.  I could have ended with book four, Blooms of Consequence.  I was satisfied with the ending.
Books five and six (Cane of Divergence and Leaves of Revolution) continued the adventures in the new land.  I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the stories and how much better the writing was.
The only thing left to do is read Crossed Roses, book one from Will’s point of view!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

To Live Forever or Not: Incarnate Series by Jodi Meadows



Just the Facts:
Overall Rating:  3 stars
Addiction Level:  I read it every waking moment.
Believe-ability:  The setting is believable.

~~~

What would I do if I had 5,000 years to live?  Would I make the most of my moments, waste my life away, or try new things?  Many people (in this series) perfected their art.  Some like Sam took on new projects and tried to become knowledgeable about many trades.
Drop an 18 year old soul into the mix and everything changes.  I like that Ana was curious and wanted to learn.  I was jealous at how easily playing, reading, and composing music came to her.  I was at her immaturity.  I reached a point in Asunder when I wanted to put the book down and walk away.  Ana’s whining and lack of understanding almost ruined the series for me.
I really enjoyed Sam, Stef, Sarit, Sine, Cris, and Armade.  I felt like they were my friends, my new family.  In fact I like them better than Ana.
Janan, the temple, bothered me from the beginning.  He was put forth as a god, but he did not love his people.  Nor did he love Ana.  While it took a while to reveal the truth, I was relieved and disgusted by Janan.  It makes me appreciate God more.  He loves his people and takes care of them.  He listens when we cry out; He is there.
While a lot of advancement was made, I was surprised at the difference between their society and ours.  They had aqueducts like the Romans and smartphones like us, yet they still lived in a community that focused on basic needs and simple pleasures.  I was surprised at the lack of televisions, computers (for gaming), and sports.
I was also reminded of how easily people dislike differences and are not willing to look past the exterior.  They will always be those who dislike change.  Is it easier to change the mind of someone who is 5,000 years old or a 5,000 year old culture?  Can new people/ideas change the world for the better? 
If you are looking for a thoughtful series with romance and adventure, pick up the Incarnate series by Jodi Meadows.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Wishing for Change: The Young Elites by Marie Lu



Just the facts:

Overall:  3 Stars

Addiction Level: I read it when I had spare time.

Believe-ability: It was believable. 

~~~~~


     The Young Elites is the newest book from author Marie Lu and is set to be another series. It follows a young Adelina Amouteru as she runs away from certain death and into the hands of the Dagger Society, a group of gifted young adults who would use their powers to protect others like themselves and change the negative attitudes toward them in their native kingdom.

My Experience 
     I had been really looking forward to starting this new series since I loved the Legend books. At first I had a little bit of a hard time getting involved in the story because the setting was not matching up with what I had expected in my mind. I continually struggled with it throughout the story, but I will say that I think that was my problem and not Lu's. I also had a hard time dealing with the fact that this story is an origin story for a villain. It is such a fresh concept that even though I started the book with that in mind I couldn't help but constantly think that Adelina was going to make a wise choice and save the day. It was really hard to remind myself that was not likely to happen.

The Book's Structure
     The book is told from alternating points of view, which was clear while reading. It also is told mostly in present tense with periods of flashbacks throughout.

Additional Thoughts
     Overall I loved the uniqueness of this story. The ending was satisfying while also leaving you wanting more. I think I will definitely have to reread this book before I read The Rose Society so that I can hopefully straighten out some of the kinks that I have in my mind. (Again, I think this is my fault, not the author's). 

 This is a sure recommendation for me, especially for those who want to read something a little darker.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Be Present in the Moment: Still Point by Katie Kacvinsky



Just the Facts

Overall Rating:  3 Stars
Addiction Level:  I read it when I had spare time.
Believe-ability:  The setting is believable.
Dystopia Factor:  It is intended to be a dystopia, but it describes our current times.

~~~

I am a huge fan of Awaken; it captured my interest immediately.  In fact I immediately reread it once I finished it.  The concept of waking up to the real world is addictive…not to mention the intense romance happening.  Middle Ground was frustrating for me because the pace was much slower.  If one is looking for passive civil disobedience, Middle Ground is your book.  Still Point was the end of the series.

What I disliked:
  • The slow start:  Kacvinsky did not capture my attention.  I had to make a conscious effort to pick up the book, so I could finish reading it.
  • The water metaphor:  I understand poetic license and using extended metaphors.  The metaphor was lost on me, an English teacher.  Kacvinsky was trying use the metaphor incorporate the title Still Point.  This book felt more like Maddie had reached a middle ground.
  • Wrapping up the end:  It felt like Kacvinsky knew where she wanted the story to end up, so the ending seemed jumbled with awkward twists and turns.

What I liked:
  • The overall message:  As a society we need to pull ourselves away from electronic distraction and engage in face to face activities.  A typical society should not be one where a family sits down to dinner and everyone is on their electronic device ignoring everyone else.  It should be that everyone at dinner is talking with each other.  Be mindful of the time we have with one another.
  • The resolution of the love triangle:  It is frustrating to have another love interest introduced in the third book of the series.  However, I like the resolution of the love triangle.  Maddie chose the person she was best suited for.

Favorite Quotes:
  • “You need to put love into something in order for it to grow.  Maybe that’s why this house felt so sad to me.”
  • “Those little computers we hold—do we control them, or do they control us?”
  • “‘Life is about mindfulness.  It’s about being in the moment, being aware.  And ever since I was little, I was confused about living through a computer so much of the time.  I never felt like I was missing the moment.  I was elsewhere.  I was missing the moment.  That has become a problem.  We are always elsewhere.  Our minds are never in this moment, in this now.  I guess I’m becoming more acutely aware of the nows, these moments we’re missing because we are always distracted.  Can we somehow plug back in to the now?’ he asked the crowd.”

I am glad the series is over and all the loose ends are tied up.  Now off to the next series!