REVIEW: Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

23395680Title: Iluminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Rating: ★★★

Well, I did it. I made it through this. This book had a lot of potential for me, but sadly it fell short. Had it not been written the way it did I probably would have really like it, but unfortunately I have never been a fan of epistolary novels and Illuminae was no exception.

I’m a huge fan of science fiction/space opera books so no one is more disappointed than me that I didn’t like this as much as I wished I did. While I don’t mind the inclusion of documents in stories, I don’t enjoy reading entire books comprised of only documents. It was too hard in the beginning to get used to the format and to try to figure out the plot and what was happening. I also never really connected with any of the characters, which was a shame, because I think if it had been written differently I would have really liked Kady. She seemed strong, brave, and intelligent and I would have liked to have read parts of the story told from her perspective. The storyline, while confusing at first, got easier to follow and more interesting as the book went on, but I still couldn’t get over the formatting. I wish the book had been written with the documentation bits interspersed between chapters of standard narration. It would have been easier to read and follow, I would have been able to connect with and care about the characters more, and I the book would have been a bigger hit with me.

Monthly Wrap-Up: July 2016

I can’t believe this summer is already more than half way over! I’m super busy with work and school so I feel like the days have just flown by. While I didn’t read that many books in July, the ones I did read were all pretty good!

BOOK REVIEWS

23299512THIS SAVAGE SONG: Once again, Schwab has proved what an incredible writer and storyteller she is. She created an amazing, convincing world with wonderful characters. The plot was creative and original and had me hooked from the synopsis. Though the book was lacking plot-wise, I was okay with the limited action since we learn a lot about the world and the monsters in it, as well as becoming well-acquainted with the two main characters, Kate and August. There was no romance in this book, which for me had both its pros and cons. It’s not very often we see YA books feature characters who have great chemistry without any romantic feelings which was a big plus. I really look forward to reading the next book! ★★★★ [review]

21839603RUTHLESS PEOPLE: I accidentally happened upon this book on Goodreads, and oh, am I ever so glad I did. This is a vicious, gritty book and I absolutely devoured it. I’m Italian-Irish and I live in Chicago. I have a small obsession for Irish guys. This book was clearly calling to me to read from the blurb. It’s full of cruel, yet lovable, characters, gang wars, violence, witty banter, and smoldering hot romance. Best random find on Goodreads ever. ★★★★★


17926775STOLEN SONGBIRD:
Why didn’t I find this book sooner? Why did it sit unread on my Kindle for so long? Why can’t all Young Adult fantasy books be this awesome? Why must good books have bad covers? This book is so underrated. The writing was amazing, the setting was magical, the characters were complex and well-developed, and the plot was engaging and interesting. I read the first two back-to-back and now I just need to finish the series! ★★★★


31038172TORN:
It’s not usual that I find myself liking the second book of series better than the first, but with Torn that’s the case. There was much more going on plot-wise which made the book feel more well-rounded. The characters were just as great as they were in Wicked, and while parts of the book were predictable, it was still an easy, enjoyable read. ★★★★

 

26114463NEVERNIGHT: After reading so many negative reviews, I wasn’t expecting to like this, but surprisingly I enjoyed it a lot. Once you can get past the obnoxious similes, metaphors, long descriptions, and footnotes, there’s a really great story. The setting is unique and intriguing, the characters were all interesting, and the plot-when you finally get to it-drew me in until I was immersed in the story.  ★★★★ [review]

 

29519514BROKEN PRINCE: I was pretty disappointed with this book. As the sequel to Paper Princess, which I absolutely loved, I was looking for to this release and had high expectations. I found the plot lacking and the story too rushed. The only good part was the cliffhanger at the end. Hopefully, the next one will be much more reminiscent of the first. ★★★

 

28815474THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR: A fantastic thriller with a plot refreshingly different than other thrillers. Every character was complex and interesting and the writing was well-done. The story kept me guessing throughout most of the novel and just when it seemed like everything was figured out and resolved, a curveball is thrown. The ending itself earned the book an extra star. ★★★★★ [review]

 

OTHER

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Facts About Me | Liebster Award | Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set Outside the US

 

 

REVIEW: The Couple Next Door – Shari Lapena (ARC)

28815474Title: The Couple Next Door
Author: Shari Lapena
Rating: ★★★★★

ARC received through Penguin Random House First to Read. 

I love a good thriller, and that’s exactly what this is. I was hooked from the first page and it kept my attention until the last. At first I was apprehensive about going into this, thinking I had read it all before and the plot would be similar, if not the same, to other thrillers I’ve read. Thankfully, The Couple Next Door was refreshingly different, but it still kept me surprised and guessing until the very end. The writing is very well-done and all of the characters are interesting and complex. It was hard to put this book down because I was itching to know what really happened! Even as the book comes to a close, and you think everything is figured out, Lapena throws a curveball. I rated this one star higher just for the last couple of pages alone. The Couple Next Door was a fun, gripping, and unputdownable book that I can’t wait for others to read!

REVIEW: Nevernight – Jay Kristoff (ARC)

26114463Title: Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Rating: ★★★½

ARC received through NetGalley.

I have to be honest: I went into this book not expecting to like it at all. I had read multiple reviews that were not very good and it dropped my expectations. So no one was more surprised than me when I finished and found that I had actually really enjoyed it.

Despite my rating, there were quite a few things I did not like, and they seem to be the same things that everyone else had problems with too. The footnotes at the end of the chapter were annoying. Maybe if I had a hard copy they wouldn’t have bothered my as much, but since I had a eARC, I couldn’t flip to the end of the chapters and back to read them, so by the time I got to them I couldn’t even remember what they were in reference to. Some of them were also way too long. I don’t want to read footnotes that are paragraphs in lengths and so I ended up skipping the longer ones and only reading the ones that were a sentence or two. Even though I didn’t particularly like the footnotes, I do have to say that I did find the tone of them very amusing, or at least the ones I didn’t skim.

The next thing I really disliked was the writing, at least during the first half of the book. It was too dense and took forever to push through. The amount of long similes and metaphors was, quite frankly, obnoxious. They were abstract to the point that I had to read passages multiple times to try and figure out what the author was trying to say and it took away from the plot. For instance:

“But if the inn were a man and you stumbled on him in a bar, you’d be forgiven for assuming he had-after agreeing enthusiastically to his wife’s request to bring another woman into their marriage bed-discovered his bride making up a pallet for him in the guest room.”

I can’t even tell you how many times I have read this and still have no idea what the author is supposed to be saying to describe the inn.

The entire first half of the book is filled with many more metaphors like this, as well as long descriptions, to the point that is was distracting from the plot. However, if you can power through the first half, the book becomes infinitely better by the second. I don’t know if it’s because the similes/metaphors stopped, or if they just became less obvious due to the fact that I was so immersed in the story. I also liked the fact that the romance was not the main focus of the story. It was subtle enough that it didn’t take away from the plot, but still gave me something to hope for. I’m looking for to the release of the second in the series!

Many people stopped reading this midway and had I followed suit, I also would have given this a much lower rating and would have liked it as much as I did. As I stated earlier, I think the book gets much better during the second half, and is worth pushing yourself through the thick of the first 50%. It feels strange rating a good review and liking a book that many other people disliked since this has never happened to me before. I’m typically on the other end of the spectrum: hating books that everyone else raves about. But oh well, all that matters is that I like the book. 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set Outside of the US

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is books that are set outside of the United States. Since historical fiction is one of my favorite genres to read, I actually have read quite a few books set outside of the US so it was a struggle to pick only ten. I decided to narrow it down to those whose events occurred within the century (or close to it). 

Books Outside US

1. ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr
France and Germany during World War II

2. ATONEMENT by Ian McEwan
England during World War II

3. THE BONE SEASON by Samantha Shannon
Futuristic London in 2059

4. THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
Germany during World War II

5. FEVER by Karen Marie Moning
An urban fantasy Dublin

6. ALL SOULS TRILOGY by Deborah Harness
Paranormal England

7. HARRY POTTER by J.K. Rowling
United Kingdom

8. THE HUSBAND’S SECRET by Liane Moriarty
Australia

9. THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME by Julia Quinn
Regency England

10. WOLF BY WOLF by Ryan Graudin
Alternative history version of Europe in 1956

Comment and tell me what some of your favorite settings outside the US to read about are!