Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Book Review: It Wasn't Always Like This by Joy Preble

Title: It Wasn't Always Like This
Author: Joy Preble
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical
Pages: 245
Publisher: Soho Teen
Year Published: 2016
Format: Hardcover Copy (Own It)
First Line: "It was gone."

"In 1916, Emma O'Neill is frozen in time. After sampling an experimental polio vaccine brewed on a remote island of St. Augustine, Florida, she and her family stop aging- as do the Ryan's, her family's business partners. In a way, this suits Emma fine because she's in love with Charlie Ryan. Being seventeen forever with him is a dream. But soon a group of religious fanatics, the Church of Light, takes note. Drinking the elixir has made the O'Neills and Ryans impervious to aging, but not to murder- Emma and Charlie are the only ones who escape with their lives.

On the run, Emma is tragically separated from Charlie. For the next hundred years, she plays a cat-and-mouse game with the founding members of the Church of Light and their descendants. Over the years, a series of murders- whose victims all bear more than a passing resemblance to her- indicate that her enemies are closing in. Yet as the danger grows, so does Emma's hope for finding the boy she's certain is still out there..."

My Rating: 4/5

So this book wasn't at all what I expected. I couldn't remember what it was about and since it was so short I refused to read the description.  And I was very impressed with how well this short book completed the story. Overall I really enjoyed it. I will say that I didn't like some aspects of the characters, but other than that I found the mystery theme that took place throughout the book interesting. I also really enjoyed the idea of how living forever might make someone feel. I hope to read more works by this author. I would recommend this for lovers of crime shows and historical fiction.

Thanks for reading,

Spoiler: It Wasn't Always Like This by Joy Preble

So this book is a perfect weekend read. I think that the author did a tremendous job of completing a story about lovers, time travel and mystery all in under 250 pages. The interesting part of this novel for me was how many time jumps their are as well as, perspectives.  The setting was ever changing and completely interesting, it really helped to keep the story flowing throughout the time jumps.

Emma: I found her character to be frustrating near the middle of the book. For some reason her attempts to play at real life, and then her diving into her life as a PI made me wonder about what else someone might do in her scenario. It just seemed like some things she got to easy,,, that is other than Charlie. I enjoyed that the author didn't make her seem pure, and holding on for Charlie 100%. Because she does find company, and people she can spend time with, but she always has him on the mind.

Charlie: This ass hole left her on her own. After losing her family, and being scared half to death of what was happening to her, he decided that she would be better on her own. The didn't take the time to think it out (oh to be 17), or to talk it over (damn angry mobs). I did think that his life took a far more interesting turn than hers though, overall. What with the wars and what not.

Pete: I liked this guy. He was a real trooper, and believed the unbelievable, which is really expecting a lot from a guy.

Kingsley: Makes you wonder how many cons he pulled on how many innocent people. What a sick freak?

Frank: Kind of creepy, but overall good.

Art: Kind of naive, but cared for his family overall.

Moments to Remember:
Final Lines: "Charlie held out his arms, and she closed the distance between them."

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Book Review: The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid


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,

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.

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,

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Book Review: Tarnish by Katherine Longshore


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,

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Book Review: Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

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,

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,