Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Review: The Martian

The Martian 
Author: Andy Weir
Release date: February 11, 2014
Published by: Crown/Random House
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When the United States sends its first group of astronauts on a mission to Mars, they have planned for every possible issue that might come up. They are prepared. Or are they? When an incredibly intense dust storm begins to reach the limits that their habit structure can take, and then surpasses the allowances for it, the team has to make an extremely frustrating decision to abort their mission. They grab what they can, suit up, and head through the dust storm to their shuttle they have to take home after only 6 days on Mars. Then the worst happens...astronaut Mark Whatney takes a direct hit from a very large piece of debris and flies into the storm with it. They have no idea where he is, and his life support sensors have gone completely offline. The team has to keep going and leave him behind without visual confirmation of his death. When Mark comes to, he is all alone on Mars. Now he has to figure out how to survive until he can be saved...

My thoughts: This was a long, epic journey from Earth to Mars. Then, day after day of Mark's trying to survive on Mars while hoping for someone figuring out a way to save him. Of course, everything that could go wrong did go wrong and reading about Mark's every new problem as he had to solve it made the book very dramatic.

I found this book to be an interesting read, but ultimately very slow in pace. I certainly understand why it was rather slow at times because it is day after day of him on his own just surviving on his own on an uninhabited planet very far from Earth. I honestly had a hard time finishing it because of the pace, but I knew I wanted to get it done for book club which is why I was reading it to begin with. 

As a book club read, it was one that made for a lot of good chatter and discussion. Not all books can do that and this one did. It also made us all interested in seeing the movie based on the book as well. 

The main character, Mark Whatney, was a great character as a whole. He was very funny and the writing was really well done even though I don't know a ton about space, space travel, etc. I also still felt like I could understand what was happening through the book just fine. The first couple of sentences alone made me laugh out loud! I also like how they jumped from the group on the shuttle home, to the people trying to save him, and more. Without this I would have also had a hard time getting through the book. Mark Whatney and the structure of the book together is what kept me reading this one until the end. 

The concept itself of this book and what it's about I think is great! I love that it seems to have made space and astronauts cool again in our society. It's also checked out all the time at school and I think a big reason for that is not only the movie, but that so many of the teachers and staff in the building have read the book and therefor can recommend it to students and staff. All of this is a WIN for the library of course! :) 

My thoughts on the movie: If you've read the book and haven't tried the movie, I would highly recommend it. Or vice versa really. The movie seemed to really follow the book for the most part, but of course was more of the action parts and not the long drawn out day after day of the book. I think in the end I would in this instance choose the movie over the book for pure entertainment value. 

What did you think of this one? Have you seen the movie? 

View all my reviews

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #218 - Heir to the Sky & Night Speed

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

Author: Amanda Sun 
Release Date: April 26, 2016 
Published by: Harlequin Teen 

As heir to a kingdom of floating continents, Kali has spent her life bound by limits--by her duties as a member of the royal family; by a forced betrothal to the son of a nobleman; and by the edge of the only world she's ever known--a small island hovering above a monster-ridden earth, long since uninhabited by humans. She is the Eternal Flame of Hope for what's left of mankind, the wick and the wax burning in service for her people, and or their revered Phoenix, whose magic keeps them aloft.

When Kali falls off the edge of her kingdom and miraculously survives, she is shocked to discover there are still humans on the earth. Determined to get home, Kali entrusts a rugged monster-hunter named Griffin to guide her across a world overrun by chimera, storm dragons, basilisks, and other terrifying beasts. But the more time she spends on Earth, the more dark truths she begins to uncover about her home in the sky, and the more resolute she is to start burning for herself. (Summary from Goodreads)

Doesn't this sound like a grand hero's adventure? I'm in.

Author: Chris Howard 
Release Date: May 3, 2016 
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books 

Only those young enough can survive the pulse-pounding rush of tetra, a dangerous and addictive new drug that fuels a nine-minute burst of superhuman strength and speed. Alana West has been trained to use the drug so she can pursue the young criminals who abuse the power--criminals like the breakneck who nearly killed her kid brother.

On tetra, Alana is unstoppable. The rush makes her an explosive blur as she surges through New York City, battling to bring down breaknecks before they leave more people dead or injured in their wake. But with the clock ticking down to her eighteenth birthday, Alana will soon be too old for the rush...when just one more dose will prove deadly.

Supported only by her strong and steady handler, Tucker, Alana goes undercover, infiltrating an elite gang of breaknecks to stop the supply of their drug. But when Alana gets trapped on the wrong side of the law, she learns the breaknecks are not quite what they seem--especially to Ethan, the artistic boy whose bottomless brown eyes seem to see the truth inside her. With her own dependency on tetra increasing, Alana must decide where her loyalties lie before the rush ends. Forever.  (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds so different and potentially good. I really want to get my hands on it. 

What are you waiting on this week?

Full Series Review: Witch Song

Series: Witch Song, 3 Books
Author: Amber Argyle 
Release dates: September 2011 - January 2014 
Published by: Starling Publishing 
Rating of the series: 4 of 5 stars

Brusenna has lived secluded her whole life hidden in the forrest near her town with only her mother and her protector, Bruke, a large wolfhound. The only time she's been around others is the rare trek to the village for supplies they cannot grow or raise. When Senna's mother leaves on some sort of secret mission and never returns, Senna tries to learn as much about her magic as possible which she has never been allowed to do before. With witch hunters close on her trail she sets out to find her mother and save her all on her own. Along the way she finds a Guardian, Joshen, to help her on her way. Will she survive against the greatest Dark Witch ever, or will she perish along the way just from the journey itself? 

My thoughts: These were fun books. I blew through them reading each in about a day. Not only were they a fantastic price as eBooks for my NOOK app, but they were full of adventure and had a fascinating twist on witches and their magic...

The whole world that Argyle created is one of beauty, danger and magic which was just cool as can be. I loved how the witches were organized and the way their magic worked. I had never read a story where their magic was so connected to nature which was fantastic. 

The story was also full of mystery after mystery throughout the series which kept me interested the entire time. I will admit that the 3rd book really through me off, and was really more of a story I would expect as a prequel or novella which is extra story about the world, or characters but not about the actual characters who are in the first 2 books at all. It was certainly interesting back story, but if I had realized what it was about I wouldn't have purchased or read it. Oh well, it as still interesting. 

Senna is a character who's growth is amazing from not only a young lady to a woman, but as an untrained witch into an extremely knowledgable and strong witch. That is one of the things I really liked about this story. We get to be along for that growth, and her need for knowledge and reading about it on her own when she doesn't have anyone else is very appealing. Senna is also a really good person showing kindness to some whom others do not even notice as worthy of their time. This also makes her an extremely appealing character throughout the story. 

The rest of the witches throughout the books are found within a wide spectrum of personalities. They are mentors, friends, hard, dark, and suspicious. So much happens in these 3 books and you feel so much of the roller coaster of emotions that Senna is on. Argyle is a fun writer to read. 

If you haven't given this series a chance yet, you should. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Top 10 Recent 5 Stars...

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the team over at Broke and the Bookish! Leave a link to your Top 10 below!

Top 10 (or 12) Books We Recently 5 STARRED...

1. The Inquisition by Taran Matharu 

2. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton 

3. All In by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 

4. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken 

5. The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black 

6. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas 

7. Red, the true story of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff 

8. Flunked & Charmed by Jen Calonita

9.  Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

10. First & Then by Emma Mills 

11. Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber 

12. We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen 

What's on your Top 10 this week?

Review: The Scorpion Rules

The Scorpion Rules 
Series: Prisoners of Peace, Book 1
Author: Erin Bow
Release date: September 22, 2015 
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster 
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The world is finally at peace...Why? How? That's easy, each head of each nation has to hand over their first born child to the greater good. They become "Prisoners of Peace". Each child knows that if their nation goes to war, they will be killed as punishment. Child hostages keeping the peace of the world.

My thoughts: I had been waiting for this one since I first heard about it...the cover and the description were so darn great. I was thrilled when I was allowed a chance to read it ahead of time from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. I was frustratingly disappointed with this one though. Maybe it was all the build up I'd done in my head and maybe it was the abject brutality of the situation and storyline. Who knows? What I do know is that I was extremely frustrated by it as a whole. I hate writing negative posts about a book, so I have procrastinated and procrastinated on this one since January. Here it goes...

The A.I. (artificial intelligence), Talis, who oversees the hostages is absolutely brutal in its job of keeping the prisoners of peace. It quite literally runs the world for the United Nations. I understood the reasoning for it all, but for some reason couldn't handle it. I also couldn't abide the slowness of it all, along with the sad, tragicness of the loss of hope in everything throughout the book. I'm honestly not sure what about this story is meant to interest me in reading the next book in the series. 

What I loved about the story was the world that Bow created. The way that the world was split apart and divided because of wars and alliances was fascinating. For example, the main character of Greta was from what we know as Canada and what they called "The Pan Polar Confederacy". It seemed like a perfectly realistic take on our future that I never even considered. 

The only other thing that I thought was nicely done was the addition of a gay relationships between the captives. I always like to see diversity added to any book. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a twist on dystopian storytelling, but this one was just not for me unfortunately. C'est la vie. 
View all my reviews

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #217 - When We Collided & A Court of Mist and Fury

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

Author: Emery Lord 
Release Date: April 5, 2016 
Published by: Bloomsbury USA 

Meet Vivi and Jonah: A girl and boy whose love has the power to save or destroy them.

Vivi and Jonah couldn't be more different. Vivi craves anything joyful or beautiful that life can offer. Jonah has been burdened by responsibility for his family ever since his father died. As summer begins, Jonah resigns himself to another  season of getting by. Then Vivi arrives, and suddenly life seems brighter and better. Jonah is the perfect project for Vivi, and things finally feel right for Jonah. Their love is the answer to everything. But soon Vivi's zest for life falters, as her adventurousness becomes true danger-seeking. Jonah tries to keep her safe, but there's something important Vivi hasn't told him. (Summary from Goodreads)

This sounds like a sweet YA romance with a heavier message. I'm in.

Author: Sarah Maas 
Release Date: May 3, 2016
Published by: Bloomsbury USA 

Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court--but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms--and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future--and the future of a world cleaved in two. (Summary from Goodreads)

I LOVED the first book in this series SOOO MUCH!!! I feel like I've been waiting FOREVER for it too since I read it well before it came out which I'm sure many of you understand well. If you haven't read book 1, GET TO IT!! :)

Check out my review of Book 1:
A Court of Thorns and Roses

What are you waiting on this week?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Review: How to be Brave

How to Be Brave 
Author: E. Katherine Kottaras
Release date: November 3, 2016
Published by: St. Martins Griffin 
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Georgia lost her mom four months ago, and as she moves forward into her senior year, she decides to follow through on the suggestion her dying mother left her: live life and live it bravely. With this, Georgia, along with her friend Liss, creates a list of things she's been too shy, too quiet, too scared to do before now, including try out for cheerleading. Senior year is going to be interesting.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Georgia's story. I wanted to shake her a couple times as she uses questionable means to escape her grief under the guise of living life bravely. That's why for me this story was more about a person who is going through the grieving process than someone trying to fulfill a bucket-type list. She's at that point where it's been long enough that, while people know she's experienced a tragedy, they've moved on with life and left her with the feeling that she should be moving on, too, and yet she can't. She's still lost, sad, angry, and a whole host of other feelings that go along with death.

I would recommend this because I appreciated Georgia's honest journey with all its bumps and bruises. Plus, Georgia has spunk and spirit that comes out strong in the end as she learns to be who she is and accept that that's okay...even great, maybe :)

View all my reviews

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday #216 - Wink Poppy Midnight & Lady Renegades

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Be sure to post a link to your Waiting on Wednesday below!

This week's pre-publication "We can't wait to read it!" selections are...

Author: April Genevieve Tucholke 
Release Date: March 22, 2016 
Published by: Dial 

every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous. (Summary from Goodreads)

I love a story with multiple, clear voices. This one sounds unique.

Author: Rachel Hawkins 
Release Date: April 5, 2016 
Published by: Putnam/Pengiun

Just as Harper Price starts coming to terms with her role as David Stark's battle-ready Paladin, protector, and girlfriend--her world goes crazy all over again.

Overwhelmed by his Oracle powers, David flees Pine Grove and starts turning teenaged girls into Paladins--and these young ladies seem to think that Harper is the enemy David needs protecting from. Ordinarily, Harper would be able to fight off any Paladin who comes her way, but her powers have been dwindling since David left town, which means her life is on the line yet again.

Now, it's a desperate race for Harper to find and rescue David before she backslides from superhero to your garden-variety type-A belle. (Summary from Goodreads)

This is such a fun series. I can't wait to keep reading it.

Check out my review of book 1:
Rebel Belle

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Top 10 Books on Our Spring TBR Lists...

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the team over at Broke and the Bookish! Leave a link to your Top 10 below!

Top 10 (or 11) Books on Our SPRING TBR Lists...

1. The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller 

2. Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan 

3. The Star-touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi  

4. Gifted by H.A. Swain 

5. And I Darken by Kiersten White 

6. Beyond the Kingdoms by Chris Colfer 

7. Land of Stories Book 5 by Chris Colfer

8. United as One by Pitticus Lore 

9. Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson 

10. Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm 

11. Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova 

What's on your Top 10 this week?