Saturday, July 22, 2017

Book Review: The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid


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Title: The Diabolic
Author: S.J. Kincaid
Series/Standalone: The Diabolic (Book #1)
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 416
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Year Published: 2016
Format: Physical Hardback (Own It)
First Line: "Everyone believed Diabolics were fearless, but in my earliest years, all I knew was fear."

"Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator's daughter, Sidonia. There's no one Nemesis wouldn't kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy's most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force; the one thing she's been told she doesn't have- humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her Sidonia, and the entire Empire."

My Rating: 3.75/5

I know that I thought I'd never give a funky star rating like this but I've grown as a person. I thought that this book was really interesting. The premise was really interesting to me. The idea of using genetically modified humans for different purposes is something that frightens me but also makes me curious about the future. I think that this author did an interesting thing by starting the story in the "breeding corrals" (I'm shuddering just having to type that). I also enjoyed the political aspect of this story. But in between that this story did a lot of info dumping and I just wasn't enjoying that part of the story. It was a lot to remember and a lot to put into a first book. I also thought that this book did a strange thing with pacing. I felt like no time had passed, but in reality, the book took place over quite a long period of time. So overall I enjoyed the idea and the characters, but the execution just fell a little tiny bit flat for me. That being said, I'm curious about the next book in the series that comes out in October. So if I see it and still remember the majority of the story, I will probably pick it up.

Thanks for reading,
SIdny


Spoiler: The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

So this book has taken me a hell of a long time to get into. I read about 10 pages a day for a week before I forced myself to sit down and read today. And overall I enjoyed this book. I think that the author has an interesting concept, a unique setting and wonderful characters. This being said, I think this book did a lot of info dumping. Throughout I just felt like there was so much for me to take in in such a small amount of time. I also didn't appreciate how fast the rebellion seemed to work out. I would have appreciated it spread out just a little bit more. Maybe continuing to the next book.


Characters:
Sidonia: She was naive and sweet, but it makes you wonder what she might have become in a different situation. Would she still be so loving to "creatures"? Or would she be hard and callous like so many around her? I was sad to see her go but didn't grieve her as much the second time to be completely honest with you. 

Nemesis: The author touches on an important topic, what makes us human? And can we change certain things to disturb this humanity? I don't know the answers but I liked how the author tackled this topic with Nemesis. I also enjoyed watching her discover her humanity, along with realizing that fear is sadly natural. I think that she will be more than a little shell shocked in the next book and we'll see how the Empire views people like her in their society.

Tyrus: I don't know how I feel about him, at first I was all in and loved him. Now I'm thinking I should be more cautious. He will make an interesting leader. A cunning one for sure.

The Emperor: He was a sick freak, but none the less a puppet. 

Elantra: She wasn't going to make it far. Let's be honest she was an evil girl, who liked to flaunt what other's didn't have. She reminded me a lot of Evangeline in the Red Queen series

Cygna: So incredibly manipulative. I wonder what else would have happened if she had her way. 


Moments to Remember:
Final Line: "Whatever lay ahead, it would always be the two of us above the rest of the universe, and woe to any who dared step in our path."

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Book Review: Tarnish by Katherine Longshore


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Title: Tarnish
Author: Katherine Longshore
Series/Standalone: Royal Circle
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 448
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Year Published: 2013
Format: Audiobook

"Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to coach her on how to shine at court- and to convince the whole court they're lovers- she accepts. Before long, Anne's popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice- but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart's desire and the chance to make history."

My Rating: 3.5/5

Ok, so while listening to this book on audio, I couldn't help but realise that I don't know a whole hell of a lot about King Henry VIII. I knew that he kept decapitating women who didn't bear him a son, but other than that I wasn't sure the details about his life and rule. I was intrigued by the idea of the Boelyn's and was interested in our main character Anne throughout the story. That being said, I found myself getting frustrated with her choices, possibly because I knew her fate. This being said, the character is an interesting one, especially because she was a character who spoke her mind... even when she shouldn't. In this time period that would be unheard of.  That being said, I don't plan to continue with the book series (or the books connected to this one). Ps. I don't think that there will be a spoiler for this review, based on my rating and the content, I just don't think I have enough spoiler details to fill one post.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Book Review: Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley


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Title: Highly Illogical Behavior
Author: John Corey Whaley
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Pages: 250
Publisher: Dial Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Mental Health
Year Published: 2016
Format: Audiobook


"Sixteen-year-old Solomon is an agoraphobic. He hasn't left the house in three years, where is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she's being realistic). But is ambition alone enough to get her in?

Enter Lisa.

Determined to 'fix' Sol, Lisa steps into his world, along with her charming boyfriend, Clark, and soon the three form an unexpected bond. But, as Lisa learns more about Sol and he and Clark grow closer and closer, the walls they've built around themselves start to collapse and their friendships threaten to do the same."

My Rating: 4/5

I got this audiobook when I found out it included mental health elements as well as an LGBT main character. These are two things that when represented in YA either go over very well or poorly with an audience. I really enjoyed this book overall. It definitely has some anxiety triggers which should be anticipated based on our main characters illness. I think that this novel did a great job of showing how people with a mental illness feel and how those around them might feel. It really encompassed what panic feels like and how panic can affect a person's everyday life. It also did an interesting job in speaking about the idea of "fixing" someone which a lot of people agree is not the way to think of helping people with mental health. As someone who has both known people with mental health problems and has experienced them herself, it was frustrating to have the idea that one character planned on fixing someone, but throughout the novel you see a different approach taken towards someone who might need help.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny


Spoiler: Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

If you guys are looking for a quick and diverse book I would definitely recommend it to young adult readers. This short book encompasses so much. The idea of mental illness, mental health, LGBT, teenage angst, and the walls we all put around us. 

I think that this author did a magnificent job showing the idea that "fixing" someone is not the right approach to helping someone with a mental illness, and while I've never experienced agoraphobia, I understand anxiety and panic attacks. I also thought the many perspectives we witness in the book were interesting. The friend who follows Christianity standards, the mom who thinks that being gay is a choice, the people around Sol who see him as he really is,  and those on the outside looking in assuming how things are.


Characters (Just to name a few):
Soloman: His character is so fleshed out for only have 250 pages worth of story. I think the fact that he follows his urges to get help and find what he can manage. The ideas that swarm his brain, made me feel for him so much and I loved that he was working towards doing what he could, knowing that he may never be "better", as so many people expected him to be. I loved the way we left his story in the end! Beautiful.

Lisa: I docked a whole star for this ass hole. I did not like her the majority of the book. She just seemed to have a lot of trouble remembering that not everything was about her. And while she helped Soloman, I think that he needed a friend, not another person trying to make him "better". And this is why I loved the essay in the back of the book. She grew so much as a character, thank goodness. 

Clark: I liked how chill he was. I think he really helped Soloman and gave him something to hope for.

Soloman's Parents: I know a lot of adults might give them shit about letting Soloman stay home. And it's not that they didn't care, in fact, they cared more than so many. Anxiety is often crippling and they understood this and didn't push him if he wasn't ready. Maybe that's what helped him see what he might be able to do on a good day.

Lisa's Mom: She clearly has some mental health issues, and doesn't seem to care that those around her are affected by her actions. At the same time, the way she speaks with Lisa was so frustrating. To see her be the type of person to write it off on Soloman's parents, or a trend was frustrating as an open minded person. It leads me to realise that many people deal with judgements like these more often than being met with an open minded opinion.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny


Friday, June 30, 2017

Book Review: The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock


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Title: The Smell of Other People's Houses
Author: Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction
Pages: 240
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Year Published: 2016
Format: Audiobook

"In Alaska, 1970, being a teenager here isn't like being a teenager anywhere else. Ruth has a secret that she can't hide forever. Dora wonders if she can ever truly escape where she comes from, even when good luck strikes. Alyce is trying to reconcile her desire to dance with the life she's always known on her family's fishing boat. Hank and his brothers decide it's safer to run away than to stay home- until one of them ends up in terrible danger.

Four very different lives are about to become entangled."

My Rating: 4/5

This is an endearing story about how our lives connect to those around us. It includes many different perspectives in a tense time after Alaska became a state and shows different perspectives on the results of that. I really enjoyed this book and think it showed amazing compassion toward humanity and the ability to try again and work harder. I am very interested in other books by this author. This book did the amazing job of getting me out a reading slump and I couldn't be more grateful. The characters are flawed but lovable and easy to picture in their day to day life. Due to the short length of this book, I do not have enough to spill into a spoiler. 

Thank for reading,
Sidny

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Book Review: The Grim Grotto by Lemony Snicket


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Title: The Grim Grotto
Author: Lemony Snicket
Series/Standalone: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Book #11)
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 323
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Year Published: 2004
Format: Hardcover Library Edition
First Line: "After a great deal of time examining oceans, investigating rainstorms, and staring very hard at several drinking fountains, the scientists of the world developed a theory regarding how much water is distributed around our planet, which they have named 'the water cycle.'"



"Dear Reader,

Unless you are a slug, a sea anemone, or mildew, you probably prefer not be damp. You might also prefer not to read this book, in which the Baudelaire siblings encounter an unpleasant amount of dampness as they descend into the depths of despair, underwater.

In fact, the horrors they encounter are too numerous to list, and you wouldn't want me even to mention the worst of it, which includes mushrooms, a desperate search for something lost, a mechanical monster, a distressing message from a lost friend, and tap dancing. 

As a dedicated author who has pledged to keep recording the depressing story of the Baudelaires. I must continue to delve deep into the cavernous depths of the orphans' lives. You, on the other hand, may delve into some happier book in order to keep your eyes and your spirit from being dampened.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket."

My Rating: 4/5

This book took longer than anticipated again to read, but I enjoyed it so much more than the last one. This story shows so much growth for our characters and continues the mystery of VFD even further. Learning more about the Baudelaire's family past and introducing new characters always helps to keep the story interesting, and while I loved these aspects. I felt that Lemony Snicket's voice was missing in an odd way and wanted a bit more of that. I can't wait to wrap up the series in the coming months and then start the Netflix series which people have been raving about on booktube.

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

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Title: Before I Fall
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction,
Pages: 470
Publisher: HarperCollins
Year Published: 2010
Format: Audiobook

"With this stunning debut novel, New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver emerged as one of today's foremost authors of young adult fiction. Like Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why and Gayle Forman's If I Stay, Before I Fall raises thought-provoking questions about love, death, and how one person's life can affect so many others.

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12th- 'Cupid Day'- should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is... until she dies in a terrible accident that night.

However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined."

My Rating: 4/5

I didn't hope on this train either times it was really popular, both when it first came out and when the film was released this past year. I just missed the boat, but when I saw it available on audiobook through Overdrive I jumped at the chance to understand the conflict behind this book. And I do understand it. This book has triggers for mental illness, abuse, sexual assault, suicide, etc. There are problems with this book for sure, but that being said, this book does something similar to both Thirteen Reasons Why and If I Stay (both books I've enjoyed in the past). It asks questions about how your life affects those around you and what you would choose to do if you could change something. I thought that the author for the audiobook was very good and kept me interested. I would suggest this book to anyone who is a fan of the movie Mean Girls but be warned that this book deals with a few more series topics, rather than comedic ones. 

Thanks for reading,
Sidny

Spoiler: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

So this book has been around for a hot minute. And I've just been skipping out on it because I wasn't sure if it was something I would enjoy, but when I saw it on Overdrive I couldn't resist. I heard a lot of my friends talking about how much they enjoyed the movie, and me being myself I couldn't watch the movie until I read the book. This book does hit on a lot of triggers such as sexual assault, suicide, depression, and that's just to name a few. So it's not that this book doesn't have flaws it most certainly does. But for a debut release (didn't realize this is how Lauren Oliver started), it's a gutsy novel. This story follows the popular girls in high school. You know the ones, hell maybe you were one or maybe you weren't but you know exactly who I'm talking about. You might even be thinking about someone as you read that last sentence. Hell, I was.

I think that those who enjoy Mean Girls might also get a kick out of the audiobook at least. The voice actor(s) did a marvellous job of portraying different characters and helped me to visualise the characters we saw in this gritty novel.

Characters:
Samantha: Her attitude at the first half of the book got me thinking about how the other half of my high school lived. I wouldn't say that I was popular but I had a group of very dorky friends, and as an adult, I'm grateful that it's who I ended up with. But at the time, popular girls did not make my life easy and this book really reminded me of that. I think that the change that Samantha undertakes is an interesting one. She doesn't leave her friends, which is what I expected after the first few times reliving her days, but by the end, she realized that someone had to pay for what they had done, and I guess she chose herself. I am interested to read more from Lauren Oliver, but I am hoping for some more likeable main characters. 

Lindsay: I won't lie. I hated her. I'm sure the author tried to show her redeeming qualities. But there is no reason to ruin someone else's life. And I hope that her loss shows her that. But if anything I think she will hate Juliet more. Probably claim that she pushed Sam. 

Ally: A bit ditsy, but sweet regardless. I do wonder about her future as well as her eating habits which are highlighted in this book but not truly dealt with.

Elody: I hope she straightens up her act because in the end she and Anna aren't so different... some food for thought for sure.

Rob: Ok, if you're an adult reading this I'm sure you could tell this guy was an ass hat from the first few chapters of this book, but if not I'm sure the ending really did it justice for you. He's a piece of crap guy. The type who gets what he deserves in the long run.

Kent: I love him. He's sweet and quirky. The kind of guy I started to fall for in high school and have spent 3 years with now. Needless to say, my kind of man.

Juliet: She broke my heart over and over. She is so many teenagers to me. And if we think that bullying has gotten better all you need to do is go to the internet and see how people are treated by their peers. I definitely related to her bullying experience, but I hope that she recovers in life and leads a different life. A happier one.

Anna: I think she's spunky but hope she does better than the ass hole she was seeing through the majority of the book. She deserves better.

Mr. Daimler: He is creepy. Which didn't really surprise me at all, but it's unfortunate that things played out the way they did.


Thanks for reading,
Sidny


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Review: Saga Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples


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Title: Saga Vol. 2
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Pages: 144
Genre: Graphic Novel, Comic, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher: Image Comics
Year Published: 2013
Format: Paperback trade copy (Own it)

"From award-winning writer Brain K. Vaughan (Pride of Baghdad, Ex Machina) and critically acclaimed artist Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, Done to Death), Saga is a sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe. Thanks to her star-crossed parents Marko and Alana, newborn baby Hazel has already survived lethal assassins, rampaging armies, and horrific monsters, but in the cold vastness of out space, the little girl encounters her strangest adventure yet...
grandparents."

My Rating: 5/5

So I binge read this while I was indulging in some beverages last night and I loved it! Just as much as the first one if not more. I think that this instalment did a really good job of giving some background to the first volume. Readers have been introduced to aspects of this world, but this really explains them. And while this still has very adult themes, they are less in your face in this second volume. I really love the art in these comics and there are times while reading that I pause just to appreciate the hard work that the creators obviously put into this series. I can't wait to continue on with the series next month (I'm trying to pace myself so  I don't run out of volumes that have been published). I am also interested in more graphic novels that are similar to this series, so if you have any suggestions please let me know. 

Thanks for reading,
Sidny