Monday, June 27, 2016

Review: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Title: Illuminae
Series: The Illuminae Files #1
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Pages: 599
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Thriller, Romance, Mystery
Source: Purchased
Rating: 6 out of 5 (Yes, it gets an extra star for being so awesome!)

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

My Review
This is truly one of the most original and creative books that I have ever read. After reading the synopsis for this book, I was greatly excited. I can honestly say that I did not know what to expect going into this book. I didn't really have any expectations, other than I knew that the book would be good because of the familiarity with the authors. They write extraordinary books, and so I knew this one would fit the bill. What I didn't expect was for this book to leave such an imprint on me.

The first thing that you will notice about this book is the format. This book is told in an unorthodox, yet fascinating way. Coming directly from the synopsis of the book, this story is "told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more." You may be wondering how you can possibly comprehend a story that it told in such a manner, but Kaufman and Kristoff pull it off effortlessly. They tell a story that is so effective, that I wouldn't be surprised if books in this format start popping up like mad. Not only do you comprehend the story, but you fall right into it. This story will devour you whole. It is truly a visionary piece of art. 

After the initial shock of not reading a traditionally structured novel, you will start to connect with the characters. These characters are going through so much trauma that you can really feel what they are feeling. While reading you come to love them and root for them. 

The mystery and suspense in this book are freaking amazing! Just when you think you have things figured out, BOOM! Things get shaken up and you are left with your mouth hanging open while you race through the pages to find out what happens next. I just love the way that things played out. I was certainly not expecting all the twists and turns.

Kaufman and Kristoff tell a story so magical that you will be swept up and carried away. I guarantee that once you start reading this you will not be able to put it down. Even if you are skeptic about reading this because it is outside of your comfort zone, READ IT ANYWAY! Seriously, I cannot stress enough the AWESOME that is this book. I am highly (and agonizingly) anticipating the second part of this story in Gemina!

If you have read Illuminae, what did you think? Do you like reading science fiction novels? If so, which are your favorite? If not, what genre kickstarts your heart?

Comic Review: Limbo by Dan Watters, Illustrated by Caspar Wijngaard

Title: Limbo
Series: N/A
Author:  Dan Watters
Illustrator: Caspar Wijngaard
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: June 07, 2016
Pages: 160
Genres: Comics, Graphic Novels, Trade Paperbacks, Fantasy
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A detective with no memory, no identity, and no manners. A femme fatale seeking escape from a powerful crime lord. A voodoo queen with a penchant for mixtapes and hi-tops. A goat-eating TV... A surreal neon-noir fusing hardboiled pulp with an 80s VHS visual aesthetic, dripping with neon and static. Collecting issues 1 through 6. Writer Dan Watters and artist Caspar Wijngaard are an up-and-coming creative team living and working in the UK. They are currently making their Image Comics debut with the surreal Neon Noir Limbo. 

My Review
I enjoyed this. There was a lot of mystery and discoveries to be made. The story definitely kept my attention at the beginning, but petered off a bit towards the end. The artwork is gorgeous. I adore the coloring. I really liked the concept of this story. It is very interesting. I didn't personally care for the ending. It didn't have the bang that I was anticipating. Still good, but I think that it could have ended better. The plot gets a little confusing towards the end. I liked the voodoo focus of the story. The story is really creepy, but in a good way. This is a good read, and definitely worth reading. 

If you read comics, what is the creepiest or weirdest comic that you have read? If you don't read comics, do you enjoy any television shows or movies that are based off of comics?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Review: The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1) by Alison Goodman

Title: The Dark Days Club
Series: Lady Helen #1
Author: Alison Goodman
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 26, 2016 
Pages: 482
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Supernatural
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 5 out of 5

I received this book for free from the publisher via First To Read in exchange for an honest review.

London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

My Review
This was a remarkable book! I didn't know that there was a sad little gap in my reading life until I read this book. I found that I now have a new favorite genre that I never even knew truly existed before: a historical book with fantasy or paranormal elements. Seriously, I am hooked and I need more books like this pronto!

What did I like, you might ask? The WRITING! OMG, the writing is insanely good! Everything is written so beautifully and flawlessly. There are plenty of details to gain an understanding of how this time era is and what is happening within the story, but not so much that it gives away anything. It is just brilliantly written. Goodman definitely did her research and it shows. This world is complex and all of the elements come together perfectly.

The character development is outstanding. The characters are written in such a way that you get the sense that you know these characters completely. Especially the main character, Helen. She is an engrossing character and I felt so many of the things that she felt while reading this. I tremendously liked the way that the two main characters come together. While there wasn't really romance involved, there is a tension between them that cannot be denied. It is invigorating! I can't wait to see what happens between them in the next book in this series. I also very much loved the female friendship between Helen and her personal maid. 

I felt that the supernatural part of the story took a long while to come to light. I expected to be thrust into it more quickly. I can't say that it necessarily took anything away from the story, but I can't deny that I felt less than immersed in the story at the beginning. After the supernatural part of the story presented itself, I was immediately hooked. If you are the type of reader to put a book down if it isn't immediately gratifying then this book may not suit you.

I would absolutely recommend this! This book has so many compelling components and leaves you wanting more. I couldn't put this book down, and I am sure that it will have the same effect on you. I truly loved this book! The next book in this series will not be released soon enough for me!

If you have read The Dark Days Club, what did you think? Do you like reading historical novels? 

Review: Artificial (The Kepler Chronicles #1) by Jadah McCoy

If you have Kindle Unlimited, read this now for free!
Title: Artificial
Series: The Kepler Chronicles #1
Author: Jadah McCoy
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: April 04, 2016
Pages: 226
Genres: Young Adult, New Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 5 out of 5

I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

She struggles to feel human.

In 2256, the only remnants of civilization on Earth’s first colonized planet, Kepler, are the plant-covered buildings and the nocturnal, genetically spliced bug-people nesting within them: the Cull. During the day, Syl leaves her home in the sewers beneath Elite City to scavenge for food, but at night the Cull come looking for a meal of their own. Syl thought gene splicing died with the Android War a century ago. She thought the bugs could be exterminated, Elite city rebuilt, and the population replenished. She’s wrong.

Whoever engineered the Cull isn’t done playing God. Syl is abducted and tortured in horrific experiments which result in her own DNA being spliced, slowly turning her into one of the bugs. Now she must find a cure and stop the person responsible before every remaining man, woman, and child on Kepler is transformed into the abomination they fear.

He struggles not to.

For Bastion, being an android in the sex industry isn’t so bad. Clubbing beneath the streets of New Elite by day and seducing the rich by night isn’t an altogether undesirable occupation. But every day a new android cadaver appears in the slum gutters, and each caved in metal skull and heap of mangled wires whittles away at him.

Glitches—androids with empathy—are being murdered, their models discontinued and strung up as a warning. Show emotion, you die. Good thing Bastion can keep a secret, or he would be the next body lining the street.

He can almost live with hiding his emotions. That is, until a girl shows up in the slums—a human girl, who claims she was an experiment. And in New Elite, being a human is even worse than being a Glitch. Now Bastion must help the girl escape before he becomes victim to his too-human emotions, one way or another.

My Review
This book blew me away! I truly loved every moment of it. It feels like this books was written specifically for me. I love it that much! McCoy writes a story that latches onto you and does not let you go. And honestly, you don't want to be let go. This story is intoxicating!

The first thing that you will notice while reading this is that the world building is phenomenal. There is so much to learn about this world, and you keep learning more and more as the story progresses. This world is so interesting and engaging. And the history is mysterious and suspenseful. You seriously will not want to stop reading. 

The characters are amazing. I absolutely love them. And while I loved finding out more about the characters as the story went on, I also loved how the two main characters come together. Especially since Syl is human, and Bastion is an android. Each of the main characters are so complex and as they interact, things start getting even more intense. 

There are so many injustices and horrifying things in this book. It truly makes you think about things. It really is an incredible science fiction read. Not only that, but there is also the dystopian aspect of the book. There is really so much to love about this book!

I am so impressed by this book. I seriously can't wait for the next book in this series! I now have a new favorite author and a new favorite series. I recommend this strongly for any science fiction and/or dystopian fans. This story will blow you away!

Do you read science fiction? If so, what is your favorite science fiction novel? If not, what genres do you enjoy most?

Graphic Novel Review: I.D. by Emma Ríos

Title: I.D.
Series: N/A
Author: Emma Ríos
Publisher: Image Comics 
Publication Date: June 28, 2016
Pages: 80
Genres: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 2 out of 5

I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A dystopian tale that analyzes the conflict between perception and identity through the struggle of three people who consider a 'body transplant' as a solution to their lives.

My Review
I have some very mixed feelings about this graphic novel. First off, I think that the concept is awesome. I truly love the premise for this. However, I do think that it could have been explored much further. The story felt too thin. Not enough substance. I think that making it longer and including more story would have made this almost perfect. The world building was almost non-existent. I would have loved to see more of the world outside of the characters lives. While I rather liked the three characters portrayed in the story, I didn't feel like I knew them or fully knew their struggles. Very little information is given about them. If there had been more depth to the characters then this could have been amazing. The story is mostly of the characters leading up to a body transplant. It doesn't show them at the time of the transplant, or during the crucial recovery time afterwards. I also think that the ending kind of petered out. It didn't feel like there was truly closure. While the illustrations were okay, the color choice was distracting. Especially during the action scene towards the beginning. I honestly couldn't tell what was going on. This is definitely an interesting read. I think that it has some areas desperate for improvement, but the core idea of this story is great.

Do you read graphic novels? If so, what is one of your favorites? If not, do you think that you would ever try one?

Manga Review: Alice in Wonderland Vol. 1 by Jun Abe

Title: Alice in Wonderland
Series: Alice in Wonderland #1
Author: Jun Abe
Publisher: TOKYOPOP, Inc.
Publication Date: May 13, 2016
Pages: 96
Genres: Manga, Graphic Novel
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 3 out of 5

I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Manga publishing pioneer TOKYOPOP is back … bringing readers Disney Tim Burton’s "Alice in Wonderland," a retelling of the film in manga style. Alice Kingsleigh was a young girl when she visited the magical world of Underland for the first time. Now a teenager, she spots a white rabbit at a garden party and tumbles down a hole after him where she is reunited with her old friends. Alice soon learns it is her destiny to end the Red Queen's reign of terror.

My Review
I have been utterly obsessed with the story of Alice's Adventured in Wonderland since I was a young girl. I devour everything that I can find regarding this beloved story. I enjoyed this Manga adaptation of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. The illustrations and story are almost exactly what is in the Disney live action adaptation of the story that was directed by Tim Burton. There are some tiny differences, but not many. The only character that did not feel right to me was the Mad Hatter. He has always been my favorite character in the story, but I did not care for him in this manga. In both appearance and in personality, I was disappointed. All in all this was a nice read. I liked the manga style illustrations (with the exception of the Mad Hatter, as mentioned above) and the story was no different from the movie. Not bad, but not excellent. If you are an Alice in Wonderland fan or a Tim Burton fan, I would definitely read this. 

Are you a fan of Alice in Wonderland? Have you read the original book? If you have read this Manga adaptation of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, what did you think of it? 

Comic Book Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enemies Old, Enemies New (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2) by Kevin Eastman & Tom Waltz, Illustrated by Dan Duncan & Mateus Santolouco

Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Enemies Old, Enemies New
Series: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2
Authors: Kevin Eastman, Tom Waltz
Illustrators: Dan Duncan, Mateus Santolouco
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publication Date: May 24, 2016
Pages: 104
Genres: Comic Book, Trade Paperback, Graphic Novel, Fiction, Young Adult, Superhero
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 2 out of 5

I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Turtles learn the amazing story of their previous lives, and begin their journey as a true team of brothers! Meanwhile, Baxter Stockman unveils a deadly new strategy for capturing them, just as General Krang arrives in New York demanding results!

My Review
I have always loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Ever since I was five years old, when the television show debuted in the 1980s. My younger brother and I were obsessed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We had all of the action figures and toys, which we played with extensively. The original television cartoon series and the original movies from the early 1990s will always hold a special place in my heart.

This story definitely has some redeeming qualities, but I am sorry to say that it fell a little short with me. I enjoyed some of the backstory, but the way that it was relevant to the present in the story did not sit well with me. I just didn't like the idea at all. I can see how the concept could work for new fans of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but it didn't mesh well for an old school fan such as myself. The artwork was okay, but I wasn't overly impressed with it. 

I did enjoy seeing each of the turtles' personality throughout the story. I was glad that their personalities seemed to match up with those of the original turtles. I also enjoyed seeing some background for Casey Jones. He is a character that I have always loved. 

Although this story did not work for me personally, it certainly has merit. I would definitely give it a shot. I think that this story would be great for new fans. It is also a interesting take for older fans. 

If you have read this trade paperback, what did you think? If you are a fan of comic books, what is your favorite?

Comic Book Review: Star Trek: Starfleet Academy by Mike Johnson & Ryan Parrott, Illustrated by Derek Charm

Title: Star Trek: Starfleet Academy
Series: Star Trek: Starfleet Academy #1 - #5
Authors:  Mike Johnson, Ryan Parrott
Illustrator: Derek Charm
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Publication Date: August 02, 2016
Pages: 120
Genres: Science Fiction, Comic Books, Trade Paperbacks, Graphic Novels
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5

I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A bold new chapter for STAR TREK begins here, in an all-new series that shows you what life is like for cadets at the galaxy's greatest school! Witness the student days of the iconic cast before they joined the Enterprise! Plus, meet an all-new group of students as they embark on bold new adventures of their own! The first new characters in the STAR TREK movie universe make their mark here.

My Review
I walked into this one not knowing what to expect. I am glad to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. One of the things that first drew me into this, other than the fact that it was a Star Trek series, is the beauty of the cover. The colors are glorious. All of the illustrations in this are gorgeous and the colors chosen make things pop out at you. I was greatly impressed by the illustration style. The story was also quite compelling. I liked the two different sets of characters. There are the well known characters, and there is a new group of students from Starfleet Academy. I loved how both stories intertwined to make a great little story. There was mystery, intrigue, and excellent continuity. Combined with the beautiful illustrations it was fantastic. While the story was not overly involved and didn't exactly blow my mind, it was an excellent read and a great use of my free time. It is a lovely read for Trekkies and I would recommend this to fans of science fiction as well. I think anyone that reads this will enjoy it immensely. 

Review: The Keeper of the Mist by Rachel Neumeier

Title: The Keeper of the Mist
Series: N/A
Author: Rachel Neumeier
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 08, 2016
Pages: 400
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy
Source: ARC from author
Rating: 1 out of 5

I received this book for free from the author via Amazon in exchange for an honest review.

Keri has been struggling to run her family bakery since her mother passed away.  Now the father she barely knew—the Lord of Nimmira—has died, and ancient magic has decreed that she will take his place as the new Lady. The position has never been so dangerous: the mists that hide Nimmira from its vicious, land-hungry neighbors have failed, and Keri's people are visible to strangers for the first time since the mists were put in place generations ago. 

At the same time, three half-brothers with their own eyes on the crown make life within the House just as dangerous as the world outside. But Keri has three people to guide her: her mysterious Timekeeper, clever Bookkeeper, and steadfast Doorkeeper. Together they must find a way to repair the boundary before her neighbors realize just how vulnerable Nimmira is.

My Review
This book just did not work for me, and I so wanted it to. After reading the synopsis I was so excited to read this. It boasted magic, conflict, and a young girl's personal struggle, but reading this left me unconvinced. It typically takes me a few days at most to read one book, as long as it is the only book I'm reading at the time, but it took me a month to finish this one. 

The main character, Keri, was rather annoying to me. I wanted to like her so much, but I just didn't. I am a sucker for a heroine, or a young person proving themselves. This book did not portray Keri like that to me at all. I kept reading just hoping that she would get more interesting, be I was disappointed. 

The explanations for why the magic border mist failed were generic, and unconvincing to me. There should have been more substance to the reasons, and there just wasn't any. The premise itself is quite unbelievable as well. There is really no clear explanation to how the country's magic chooses the next ruler of the country. None. It left me wondering why it was happening and how it played into the rest of the story. 

This book has a serious lack of romance and action, and I think that is one of the reasons why I did not enjoy it. I think that if there had been action and romance, I would have enjoyed it at least a little. The story hints to possible romance between Keri and her childhood friend, Cort, but it never comes to pass. Nothing. Literally not a bit of romance. The only romance that we get it between Keri's friend and the prince from the country on one of the borders of Nimmira. And it is very tame. There is really no real fight scenes or action to speak of. The enemy in the book is a sorcerer, and he does not truly harm anyone, only takes away their magic. I was so disappointed in the action and the romance.

One of the things that I disliked the most about this book is that I felt like I was reading a middle grade book, even though the main character is a young adult. It just didn't feel like a young adult book. I did not care for the writing style. It felt too dumbed down to be a young adult novel. It is written in third person, but most of the book feels like it is from Keri's point of view. And the descriptions of the country, more specifically the land itself, was too entirely repetitive. 

I feel like this book could have done well with more explanations to the magic of Nimmira, and better character development. More backstory would have been helpful as well. We get a brief history, but it is indeed brief. Including some romance for the main character, and some action would have made the book much more interesting.

If you have read The Keeper of the Mist, what did you think? Do you enjoy books with magic? What has been your favorite book with magic in it? 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Cover & Synopsis Reveal: The Alchemists of Loom (The Loom Saga #1) by Elise Kova

(For any who are curious… Cover illustration by Nick D. Grey)


Title: The Alchemists of Loom
Series: The Loom Saga (Book One)
Release Date: January 10, 2017


Her vengeance. His vision.
Ari lost everything she once loved when the Five Guilds’ resistance fell to the Dragon King. Now, she uses her unparalleled gift for clockwork machinery in tandem with notoriously unscrupulous morals to contribute to a thriving underground organ market. There isn’t a place on Loom that is secure from the engineer turned thief, and her magical talents are sold to the highest bidder as long as the job defies their Dragon oppressors.
Cvareh would do anything to see his sister usurp the Dragon King and sit on the throne. His family’s house has endured the shame of being the lowest rung in the Dragons’ society for far too long. The Alchemist Guild, down on Loom, may just hold the key to putting his kin in power, if Cvareh can get to them before the Dragon King’s assassins.
When Ari stumbles upon a wounded Cvareh, she sees an opportunity to slaughter an enemy and make a profit off his corpse. But the Dragon sees an opportunity to navigate Loom with the best person to get him where he wants to go.
He offers her the one thing Ari can’t refuse: A wish of her greatest desire, if she brings him to the Alchemists of Loom.

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About the Author

Elise Kova has always had a profound love of fantastical worlds. Somehow, she managed to focus on the real world long enough to graduate with a Master’s in Business Administration before crawling back under her favorite writing blanket to conceptualize her next magic system. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and when she s not writing can be found playing video games, watching anime, or talking with readers on social media. She is the author of the Air Awakens Series as well as the upcoming Loom Saga (Keymaster, 2017).

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Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Elementals 4: The Portal to Kerberos by Michelle Madow

Filled with magic, thrilling adventure, and sweet romance, Elementals 4: The Portal to Kerberos, is the latest installment in Michelle Madow’s exciting Elementals series. Follow Nicole and her fellow Elementals as they journey to a new and dangerous world to save one of their own, battling monsters and trying to keep their sanity in a prison dimension designed to make them lose their minds 

Title: Elementals 4: The Portal to Kerberos 
Author: Michelle Madow 
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy 
Release Date: September 20, 2016 
Publisher: Dreamscape Publishing 
Series: Elementals #4 
Format: eBook and paperback 


She will venture into hell to save the one she loves.  

After being betrayed by one of their own, Nicole watches helplessly as Blake is snatched into the prison world of Kerberos—along with Medusa’s head, which is the one item they need to stop the Titans from rising again. Now Nicole and the other Elementals must enter the portal, find Blake, and bring him and Medusa’s head back to Earth before the deadly monster Typhon returns and wreaks havoc on the world. But there’s one catch—their elemental powers don’t work in Kerberos. In a dimension designed to make those within it lose touch with reality, and that's filled with dangerous creatures who want to stop them from completing their task, will they make it out alive? 

In this penultimate book of Nicole’s story, join the Elementals as they journey through hell to save the world… before it’s too late. 


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The adventure began in the first book in the series, Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows. To grab a copy of the first book for free, visit 


Michelle is hosting a giveaway for a Kindle Fire! To enter the giveaway click here! 

About the Author

Michelle Madow writes fast-paced YA (young adult) fiction that will leave you turning the pages wanting more!   She grew up in Baltimore, and now lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she writes books for young adults. Some of her favorite things are: reading, traveling, pizza, time travel, Broadway musicals, and spending time with friends and family. Michelle went on a cross-country road trip from Florida to California and back to promote her books and to encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. Someday, she hopes to travel the world for a year on a cruise ship.   Visit her website,, to get books of Michelle's for FREE! 

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