Lost by Donnielle Tyner


After the meteorite crashed on Earth, it released a mist that changed the DNA of some soldiers in the second World War. They are known as Caelians and have different powers called Talents, and they live along with Norms- Talent-less humans. Sadie is an orphan and doesn’t have the ability to harness her talent yet. Until one day, she meets Kian.

It started off at a good, easy pace and I enjoyed it until around the middle. The beginning of the story was great and it felt like it was gearing up and a surprise would come later on in the book but it all just fell a little flat. I did like reading it but it wasn’t captivating or

The writing was simple but I found the conversations between the characters to be forced and even sometimes, awkward. Most parts of the book felt dull and I couldn’t bring myself to be as invested in the story. The plot line had great potential, though, and the history of the Caelian magic was very interesting even if there wasn’t a lot of it.

I didn’t buy the romance between Kian and Sadie, though. It might be because of the time in the story and how it spans over a few weeks, but it wasn’t convincing enough. They only met about two times before she started falling in love with him. I didn’t particularly connect with Sadie’s character either. She was likable, yes, but she is very ordinary and lacked the traits that makes a good main character. I found it hard to relate to her.

Despite all my little complaints, it was a good book with a great background story. I especially liked the prologue piece and it drew me in from the first page. I would have liked the book to be longer! I was just beginning to distinguish the characters and recognize them individually.

Please don’t be discouraged by my low rating for books. It was a good read. It is just that after book blogging, my rating and views have changed and I tend to unemotionally rip its different components apart when reviewing. 🙂

A copy of this book was given to me by the author for review.

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8 Reasons to Read Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


8 Reasons to Read Illuminae

1. The book is written in a file/dossier format using IMs, emails, reports and surveillance footage—the story is laid out in such a cool and fun way that it is hard not to love it. There are even actual coffee and blood stains on the reports!

2. It’s set in space, in the year 2575, in the middle of an interstellar war between two big companies

3. There are zombies, and psychotic little girls that drag around people’s hearts

4. There’s a mad Artificial Intelligence computer, AIDAN, that believes it is doing the right thing

5. Kady and Ezra: they are funny and brave and have the sweetest moments

6. There were no boring moments and every page was packed with action and funny parts and feels. Lots of feels!

7. Kady is a hacker with an IQ of 147! She is a freaking genius. When do you ever see that in books? This book, along with the characters, kicks ass.

8. I will be re-reading this a lot. This is the best book I have read this year (sorry Throne of Glass!) and also one of the best science fiction (second only to The 5th Wave)

Just read it. I promise YOU WILL LOVE IT.

REVIEW

Fucking brilliant. BRILLIANT. (Brilliant is synonymous to illumine 🙂 ) Like I don’t even know how to explain the feels, but if I sum it up in a sentence: shit goes down. This might be my most favorite book of the year.

The weird formatting and the way this book is written is what caught my eye first, but this book is better than that. The plot is fresh and original and it is nothing like I have ever read. I like how so much effort was put in to make this book as realistic as possible.

Ezra and Kady are such great characters. He is a quirky and bright character while she is smart and sassy. And sarcastic. Their romance is enveloping; I had not planned on connecting with these characters on a personal level but their story is beautiful. Kady is all “I will go down with this ship”, while Ezra is just fighting to keep himself alive for Kady.

I loved all the characters so, so much. I’d love to be best friends with Kady and Ezra, but my most favourite character in the book is AIDAN. Why? You need to read the book to find out why I say a mad computer is the best. He (she/it?) just is.

I am all around her, silent in my vigil. Rows of servers and cables and flickering lights.
This is my center. The heart of me. And in it now she resides, filling the air with her grief.
Before this moment, I have never wished to be something other than what I am. Never felt so keenly the lack of hands with which to touch, the lack of arms with which to hold.
Why did they give me this sense of self? Why allow me the intellect by which to measure this complete inadequacy? I would rather be numb than stand here in the light of a sun that can never chase the chill away.

It was so hard to put this book down, soon I gave up even trying and put all my time into reading this, because damn, Illuminae is out of this world. Literally. I just can’t say enough about this book except that it is worth reading. Each page was like a shock to me and before I had even absorbed that, a new shock wave rolled on. There is a lot going on!

I definitely, definitely recommend this book. Ezra and Kady were an amazing couple, but I enjoyed the story as a whole more than the romance. And it’s part of a trilogy? Bring it on.

October Wrap Up and November TBR | The Most Pathetic of Them All


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Updates

  • I am so bad at finishing ARCs! My NetGalley ratio is currently 50%, but I’ve been trying to get it up to 80% for so long! I’m trying again this month and reading a few of those unread books.
  • Is anyone taking part in NaNoWriMo? I’m usually a Pantser, but I’m trying to become a Planner so this month I won’t be writing as much as planning. And then I might write the novel during winter break in December and January. So far it’s looking good 🙂
  • I have read 47 out of 50 books for my Goodreads challenge! That’s 10 more than last year, so big improvement. I’m hoping to get it up to 60 books for this year.

Interesting posts this month:

The Ten Wishes I Would Demand from the Book Genie

Discussion: What Makes a “Good” Book Review (with tips)

OCTOBER WRAP-UP 

I read two of the books from my said TBR last month, and I’m currently reading the third.

I only read 3 books in total this month, but I’m not disappointed, because I’m currently reading three books and I did have school work to do first. I didn’t post a wrap-up for the readathon I did either because I didn’t read anything

              

     ★★★★  4 stars          ★★★★1/2   4.5 stars         ★★★★★  5 stars                 ★★★   3 stars

NOVEMBER TBR

         

This is probably the latest wrap up and TBR ever written. But I’m actually happy with myself for getting it posted because I’ve been cringing every time I see this. I barely read 4 books last month! Let’s hope I read more this time 🙂

Have a great day!

What Makes a “Good” Book Review? | Let’s Talk


-good- Book review

Every book blogger out there writes or reads at least some book reviews. And often, we come across one really good one that makes us go “Ooh!” and we drop everything and stare at that beautiful piece of work. Am I right?

You need to write a good book review, or the very least a passable one if you want to to be a book reviewer and a blogger. Goodreads, Amazon, and other similar sites have a place to add your own thoughts and a review as a contribution. But what factors make a book review “good”? And is there really such a thing as a “perfect” review?

Let’s start by compiling a list of things that can make a book review good and worth reading. These are the factors and points that make me “like” a book review on Goodreads or on blogs.

Giving a feel of what the book is like

If I’m reading a book review, I want to know what the book is like. Is it happy or is it a little melancholy? Does it deal with serious topics lightly or is it heavy with emotion? Writing a book review is a little like writing a book—you have to show, not tell. Instead of saying “this book made me sad and happy”, the same can be implied by saying, “this book was a whirlwind of emotions”.

Discussing the characters

Characters can either make it a favourite or ruin the book for a reader. From personal experience, I can say that many times I’ve read a book where the storyline is just okay, but the characters are written with such precision and such depth that it makes reading the book worthwhile, too. Is the protagonist strong, brave and determined? Or is he/she always complaining and has no sense of right or wrong? Include these little details about the characters, without spoiling the book. Talk about what makes the characters great to read, or if they spoil the book.

Talking about the little things: writing style, mood, etc.

When I write book reviews, I focus on the writing style of the author too. Sometimes if the book is slow-paced, it is not always the best to read when you are in a reading slump, and if the book is too fast-paced, it can make the book more eventful and the reader more inclined to pick it up. Pay attention to the little things and try adding these small things you notice into your review—incorporating these is essential because every reader differs from the other. I might enjoy books with serious undertones and a more formal writing style, whereas another person prefers books with an informal relationship with the reader, like in a diary.

Pouring your heart out

This doesn’t have to mean inserting in every GIF possible; telling the readers what you feel about this book, about each aspect of it can help them determine if they’d enjoy it, or if it is not something they would like. Also, sharing your feelings makes the book review even more genuine and only adds to its originality. Along with a feel for the book and the characters, I want to know what the reviewer felt while reading the book, and after reading it. You might think including that little detail (the fact that the book made you want to rip it into shreds and deposit the pieces into the depths of Tartarus) is not that important, but it is. I don’t want to have to read the book only to find out that I’ll only be feeding Kronos, right? (Is this a bad joke?)

Expressing yourself properly

A good book review can either make you want to read a book or cross it off your TBR shelf, so it’s important to be precise when you talk about the book. Be honest, but don’t bash the author and let all your feelings out. This co-relates with pouring you heart out and making the book review a place where you don’t have to worry about what others think: the review is about YOUR feelings and opinions, so communicate them and don’t leave anything out! A review can also be “I loved this book so much, it’s my favourite!”, but the more you express yourself, the more your review becomes yours.

Making it original, making it yours

The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.

-–W. Somerset Maugham

As mentioned above, originality is key. You want the book review to say something about the book, but a little something about you as well. By making it yours, you are adding personality to it, and it’s no longer just a bunch of words. In the end, a book review is only what you make of it, and just writing about your feelings towards a book is a review too! Whether you only write about how you felt, or if you include every detail possible, it is still a book review and the person who reads it will be affected by it. Remember, your thoughts and opinions matter.

In my personal, opinion, there isn’t really such a thing as a “perfect” book review, but I’ve seen some book reviews that come pretty close and these are some things that I’ve noticed and that I do and want to incorporate in my writing too.

*Note that these are just my thoughts and opinions and it’s a topic of discussion. I don’t mean to say that everyone should do this or follow this. This is only a discussion post.

This is my first discussion post! Did you enjoy it? Is there something you’d like to add to the discussion? Did I miss a point? Leave a comment below 🙂

Mosquitoland by David Arnold


Mim Malone is not okay. Her father has a new wife and Mim has had to shift from her home in Ohio to a town in Mississippi. Then she learns that her mom is sick, and that is all it takes for her to pack all her things and catch the next Greyhound. And thus starts a journey that will change her, shape her and sculpt her into something different, as she confronts her fears and solves her problems.

The book starts with a letter from Mim to Isabel, and although at the time it is not told who this Isabel character actually is, it’s a very intriguing start to the book and we learn that Mim is planning on leaving and running away to Cleveland, where her mom presently lives.

Mim really is a collection of oddities and at first I didn’t really understand her—what she was doing, why she was doing it—but as the story progresses, the little details fall into place and although this is not a suspense novel and never was to begin with, it’s interesting. Mim is the heroine of her movie and the executor of her life.

Beck, one of the main characters, was not too well developed. I liked his personality and the conversations that he and Mim had together, but it didn’t feel like he was properly fleshed out, like I was only seeing a part of him, and Mim somehow saw the full 3-D version. It wasn’t really insta-love, but I think a few days is too less to decide if you really like someone.

This book is filled with diverse characters, from Walt, who is a very sweet kid with Down syndrome, to Mim’s aunt, who is mentally sick. It was fun and entertaining, and maybe even educating, but the diverse characters were just that—diverse. Maybe too diverse. I liked that the characters were different and this book created awareness about that but is it really necessary for all of the characters to be diverse for it to be considered a diverse book?

I really liked the note on which this book ended and the message I took from it: Home isn’t necessarily a place. Nor is it always a person. Sometimes, home is just where your heart is. I would recommend this because although it is a book about mental illness and a girl who suffers with it, it is pretty clear and the narrator has a fresh and interesting voice that just propels you to continue reading.

Would I recommend? — Yes.

Mosquitoland

From a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion


Lucas is dying. He has cancer, and everyone, including his family and friends, has given up on him. Except his girlfriend Emma. She prays day and night, knowing that Lucas will be all right and one day, he wakes up from his comatose state. Everyone is relieved and joyful, but Emma knows there’s something wrong with him. Something that has got to do with the object that landed in the fields outside.

We don’t get to know Lucas much in the story, but an overall idea of him is given by Emma. She’s an okay lead, but she didn’t really have the spirit in her that makes the reader feel something for the characters or the book.

Scout, the alien from the other planet, was really sweet and innocent, despite being very intelligent. He was made believable, but there wasn’t much insight about his feelings and other than what he told everyone else. He had a very short point-of-view in the book, yet it seems like I know him better than I know the main character, Emma.

I felt that the story was a bit too short and under-developed. I needed some more time with the characters to get to know them properly and actually relate with their problems. It was not the best sci-fi book, as I would have liked to know more about the alien planet. It was really interesting and it felt like the show ended right at the peak. However, it has been a while since I’ve read a science fiction book, so I might be biased.

In my opinion, science fiction lovers would enjoy this book, but only if you don’t pay attention to the little details that were slightly amiss. The age range for this one would be around 14-15 years old, because older readers might not like the vague answers and explanations.

“This is a very confusing planet. People believe things that aren’t true about other people just because of how they look and what kind of vehicle they drive. Why can you not wait and see who they are inside before you make a decision?” “Because we’re afraid,” I said.

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*Thanks to NetGalley and Karen McQuestion for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

From a Distant Star

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven


I loved it. This book was just so…so.. I can’t even describe it. Please forgive me if I’m unable to put in words how I feel about it, but I’ll try my best to show you. Maybe I should stop judging books by their covers. It’s a habit, but it needs to be controlled. I thought that this book would be a sweet and cute contemporary read. It was not. And it blew me away.

It’s a bit weird that these adventures in books sometimes start as projects for school. They met at the ledge of the bell tower, but they went to the places because of the geography project. It was really lovely to see how Finch and Violet’s gradual friendship turned into something a little more.

I didn’t really get Theodore Finch. I read the whole book, slowly, word by word, especially paying attention to all the things he said, all the things that he did. But I don’t understand him. And maybe it’s better that way, because that’s what makes his character special. He was just the most interesting, most confusing, best character ever. He changed a lot through out the book, and so did Violet, along with him.

Violet was a badass girl. Before her sister’s accident, she was carefree and liked to have fun. Now, she wishes to go back in time to fix all of that and thinks it was all her fault. Finch did not really cure her, he just helped her realize that somethings are beyond our control and that there’s more to the world than guilt and hidden grief.

I don’t know what it is about this book but it makes me want to sing, run, write, travel, cry, swim and wander. It makes me want to reach for the stars and make wishes on falling ones. It makes me want to leave a mark in the world, everywhere I can. Maybe it’s just me, but this book made me feel more than I thought words on a page could.

I had read many reviews about this book saying that it made them cry and it was heartbreaking, but somehow, while reading this beautiful piece, I forgot all that and I couldn’t think properly. I didn’t cry while or after reading this book. I feel that my feelings for the book I sob for—and this happens only once or twice in a few years—are strong, but they usually diminish with time. The wound that this book left me with will probably not heal, and I don’t want it to. I want to remember this book, the absolute beauty of it, the brightness, the glow.

The thing I realize is, that it’s not what you take, it’s what you leave.”

“What a terrible feeling to love someone and not be able to help them.”