[Review #125] These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner Cover - Review Title: These Broken Stars
Series: Starbound
Book one
Author: Amie Kaufman, Megan Spooner
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance, Survival
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

Review

These Broken Stars was nothing I expected yet everything I wanted. I really enjoyed reading this book, it’s definitely one of my favourite reads of this year.

First off, that cover! I love the cover, I love the font and the way it takes up most of the picture and is displayed over the main picture. I also love the spacey look, I always love covers that look more like space art than book covers though.

These Broken Stars did start off a little slowly in my opinion, the first thing I thought of was the movie Titanic. The different status’ between Tarver and Lilac, the way the higher status treated the lower status, located on a ship even if it was travelling through space. However as the story progressed it was nothing like Titanic and became it’s own story. The first few chapters introduce the characters, their circumstances and how different they are from each other. I found myself wishing it would hurry up so something different would happen, luckily for me the book didn’t dwell too long on the beginning and life on board the Icarus.

These Broken Stars is a love story, when I had heard that about this book I thought I wouldn’t like it, but I was wrong. I loved this. This love story isn’t insta-love, the characters don’t pine after each other, they don’t think stupid things like how ‘intoxicating’ they smell to each other or how much they want to take each others clothes off. I mean I’m sure they do think that but we don’t read it as it’s not important pertaining to their survival. This love story is raw, heart warming and also heart wrenching.

Lilac and Tarver somehow manage to get escape the Icarus as it’s somehow pulled out of hyperspace too early. Their escape-pod crash lands on a planet that they realize has been terraformed by one of the large companies, yet they seem to be alone which is puzzling and perhaps worrying. Tarver takes immediate action and works to keep himself and Lilac alive, even if he can’t stand the woman and she criticizes everything he does.

I ended up really liking both Lilac and Tarver, I was glad we got to see each of their points of view in the story. The romance builds up and sneaks up on them without them even realizing which I loved. It felt believable despite their differences and status’. I mean I may have even cried at one point which never happens, I’m never moved or invested enough in a story to really feel it as much. But These Broken Stars ‘gave me all the feels’ as everyone puts it. I was very invested in this story and these characters, I was even invested in this world and the planet. These Broken Stars was just brilliant.

Overall These Broken Stars was a compelling read. It was intense getting to see how Tarver and Lilac had to work together to survive, it was addicting to read, the world was rich, the characters were rounded, and the universe that this series is set in is scary. I loved it. I completely adored this book and I cannot wait to read the next love story set in this series!

In Summary:
– These Broken Stars was an amazing read. I loved every minute of it. It was addicting and I became highly invested in the story, the characters, the world and the planet.
– The beginning did start slowly but that didn’t last long, soon enough the story raced along and I couldn’t get enough of it.
– These Broken Stars is a compelling love story, it was deep and raw and I enjoyed reading it.
– This is one of my favourite books that I’ve read so far this year! Which I think is a huge statement.

Jord

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[Quick Reviews] The Zombie Apocalypse

I was on a zombie apocalypse binge a while back and picked up a few zombie books. Some of them were young adult books that were scary but fun to read; then there were adult books that were dark, dangerous and downright terrifying. The following two are apart of the latter.

Rise Again by Ben Tripp

Rise Again - Cover - Review Title: Rise Again: A Zombie Novel
Series: Rise Again
Book one
Author: Ben Tripp
Genre: Zombie, Apocayptic, Survival, Paranormal
Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

A MYSTERIOUS CONTAGION. MASS HYSTERIA. SUDDEN DEATH. 

And a warning that would come all too late . . . 

Forest Peak, California. Fourth of July. Sheriff Danielle Adelman, a troubled war veteran, thinks she has all the problems she can handle in this all-American town after her kid sister runs away from home. But when a disease-stricken horde of panicked refugees fleeing the fall of Los Angeles swarms her small mountain community, Danny realizes her problems have only just begun—starting with what might very well be the end of the world. Danny thought she had seen humanity at its worst in war-torn Iraq, but nothing could prepare her for the remorseless struggle to survive in a dying world being overrun by the reanimated dead and men turned monster. Obsessed with finding her missing sister against all odds, Danny’s epic and dangerous journey across the California desert will challenge her spirit . . . and bring her to the precipice of sanity itself. . . . 

Filled with adventurous human drama—and shocking inhuman horror—Rise Again marks a vivid and powerful fiction debut. 

Review

I wasn’t exactly sure what I expected when I picked up Rise Again, all I knew was that it looked like a good zombie apocalypse book.

The beginning was very interesting, life is normal and Danny is at work handling things. She’s the sheriff in the small town that is packed with visitors due to the Fourth of July parade. Her sister Kelly has taken off with Danny’s mustang which means serious business since Kelly knows that Danny would hunt her down if the mustang was damaged in any way, so Danny realizes that maybe Kelly doesn’t intend to come back. Kelly left her sister a note but Danny hasn’t had time to look at it and is avoiding reading it. Funny things start happening, a dead body is found in the forest at the beginning of the town and no one can figure out how the person died. Suddenly another one is found. And then people are running around screaming and falling down dead for no reason, the whole town gets chaotic and that’s not the worst of it all. A bunch of people are seen to be running up the mountain towards the town while the road is packed with people in cars trying to get through. Soon, everyone realizes it’s thousands upon thousands of people that are running up the mountain, some of them are dying just like some people in town; Danny comes to the conclusion that it’s a wave and once that wave hits it will affect nearly everyone around and they too will start running around and dying. Danny can in no way control it, yet she’s going to try anyway.

Once the dead start to rise I found the book to lose some of its intensity and interest. For some reason I love to read about the fall of humanity more than the actual zombie part, I find it more interesting to see how people try and survive the beginning stages more so than hiding and surviving the middle stage. In Rise Again Danny takes control of the small group of people that weren’t affected, there’s a lot of action, blood and gore in this book except I found that sometimes the action slowed the pace of the story down rather than speeding it up. Plus my favourite character was killed off in the beginning and I found that disconcerting because it felt like he had been set up as a main character yet he had already died. From that point I realized that I wasn’t sure if I liked the tone of the book.

I couldn’t really connect with Danny, maybe it was because she was an older woman? Maybe it was because she had been in a war and from that she was changed and I could hardly relate to something of that size? Maybe it was because she was cold and couldn’t understand other people’s emotions? I just couldn’t connect to her nor like her as much as I wanted to. I felt detached from Danny because of this, I simply could not care what happened to her or if she found her sister.

The story was interesting though, the zombie’s and their evolution was different to what I’ve read before, which I liked. I just felt like Danny’s story wasn’t one that I wanted to read in this world.

Overall, I thought this was one of the better zombie apocalypse books. Even though I didn’t love it I still found it hard to put down, the story dragged me in and I wanted to see how humanity would survive it and if they could.

I recommend this book to people looking for a good gory zombie apocalypse book that aren’t too bothered by no character relationships or developments.

Autumn by David Moody

Autumn by David Moody - Cover - Review

Title: Autumn
Series: Autumn
Book one
Author: David Moody
Genre: Apocalyptic, Survival, Zombies
Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

A bastard hybrid of War of the Worlds and Night of the Living DeadAutumn chronicles the struggle of a small group of survivors forced to contend with a world torn apart by a deadly disease. After 99% of the population of the planet is killed in less than 24 hours, for the very few who have managed to stay alive, things are about to get much worse. Animated by “phase two” of some unknown contagion, the dead begin to rise. At first slow, blind, dumb and lumbering, quickly the bodies regain their most basic senses and abilities… sight, hearing, locomotion…  As well as the instinct toward aggression and violence.  Held back only by the restraints of their rapidly decomposing flesh, the dead seem to have only one single goal – to lumber forth and destroy the sole remaining attraction in the silent, lifeless world:  those who have survived the plague, who now find themselves outnumbered 1,000,000 to 1…

Without ever using the ‘Z’ word, Autumn offers a new perspective on the traditional zombie story. There’s no flesh eating, no fast-moving corpses, no gore for gore’s sake. Combining the atmosphere and tone of George Romero’s classic living dead films with the attitude and awareness of 28 Days (and Weeks) later, this horrifying and suspenseful novel is filled with relentless cold, dark fear.

Review

When I picked up Autumn I was looking for a good zombie apocalypse novel, I wanted something scary as well as interesting. That’s exactly what I got. In the beginning.

I really enjoyed the beginning of this novel, the way everyone died was intensely interesting and scary. I enjoyed reading how the characters that lived dealt with everything at first. Then the dead rose and it just got more intense and more exciting, except that the living characters just got weird and different. They panicked and picked sides, the lay blame and started going crazy, they tossed common sense out of the window and it was incredibly frustrating.

The main problem I had with this book was that the characters all sounded the same, they sounded like one person. When I would be reading any of them they would change drastically, they weren’t consistent and I suddenly found I was thinking of them as one person that had mood swings. I also found that each character became unlikable and annoying, I suddenly hated them all; I couldn’t relate and I couldn’t connect with any of them. They became very unlikable and it ruined the story.

I really enjoyed how the zombies evolved and changed, that was the most exciting part and I found myself thinking of the zombies as a character in their own right. They were way more interesting and I liked them a lot more than I liked the other characters. At least the zombies were consistent throughout the story!

Overall the beginning of this book was intense and exciting, however the end was crazy and weird, and the characters were just stupid, non-relateable, crazy and were just all over the place. I didn’t really like this book as a whole. I will not be reading the next in the series.

I recommend this book to people who are looking for a terrifying zombie read and can excuse character inconsistencies. The world is worth it, the characters and their story however are not.

Jord

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[Review #124] The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner Cover - Review Title: The Maze Runner
Series: The Maze Runner
Book one
Author: James Dashner
Genre: Dystopia, Post Apocalyptic, Survival
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

“If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.” 

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers–boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out–and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Review

I had heard a lot of good things about The Maze Runner, so I went into this book trying to not let the hype raise my expectations too high. I enjoyed this book a lot, the story was intriguing and the ending has me dying to read more. The Maze Runner was a fun and exciting read, I really enjoyed trying to figure out what was going to happen and why all of these boys were stuck in a place with no memory.

However the very beginning of The Maze Runner was excruciatingly frustrating. The boys pretty much had their own language and own swear words which they said every second word. I cringed every time I heard it because the words were weird and sounded silly to me, however that was probably because the words were used in overload in the first few chapters. I immediately picked up that this was to make the readers feel lost and confused just like Tom was, he had no idea what all these words meant either. For me it was too much and I nearly stopped reading right then and there because the words were too much for me to bear; I really don’t like it when books have their own swear words. The beginning of the book was frustrating also because the boys refused to explain anything to Tom, they just kept telling him to shut up and stop asking questions. It annoyed me a lot, so much that the whole beginning was the reason I didn’t rate this book four clubs.

I loved the location of this book, it was different and a mystery. A maze that surrounded their living field? Weird mechanical creatures called Grievers that would kill them, lived in the maze? Walls that closed every night to keep them safe from the Grievers? Brilliant. They had people called ‘maze runners’ that would run through a portion of the maze every day and take note of where they ran, they were trying to find an exit to get out of the hell hole they lived in, they had to continually run in fear of coming across a griever and being killed by it. As soon as Tom arrives he knows he’s meant to be a maze runner. However to be honest I felt like this story moved way too fast, Tom barely became a maze runner before anything started happening. The title of this series and this book felt misleading because of this.

I also found myself putting things together really fast yet Tom didn’t put anything together until the end, this was annoying simply because it was so obvious to me. When the only girl arrives in the maze and admits to changing something the boys turn on her and blame her, this annoyed me as well. The boys were very childish and stubborn, I hated that I didn’t like them, it just felt so stupid for them to lay the blame instead of trying to come up with a plan. Also the girl felt like she was barely in the story, I was confused by this.

So I did have a few things that I didn’t like about The Maze Runner, however I still enjoyed the book overall. The ending as well has me dying to read the next book, I’m just a little scared about coming across the same problems in the next book that I did in this book so I’m going to give it a bit of a break before I get to it.

In Summary:
– I highly enjoyed The Maze Runner. It was different and exciting.
– I hated that the boys had their own swear words, it drove me up the wall at the rate they all said them.
– I felt like the mystery was a little bit obvious and that Tom and the boys were incredibly stupid for not having put it together way sooner.
– I really enjoyed reading this book but I am fearful that the next book in the series will carry over all the things I didn’t like about this book. I’m hoping everyone will grow in the next book.

Miss J

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[Review #101] The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau Cover - Review Title: The Testing
Series: The Testing
Book one
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Genre: Dystopian
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads]

Summary

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same? 

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career. 

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies–trust no one. 

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

Review

When I read the synopsis of The Testing, I definitely thought it had a Hunger Games vibe. I mean the cover even reminds you of The Hunger Games. In fact it was probably made that way so everyone that loves The Hunger Games would pick this up. Well. It worked. I decided to give this one a go because I had high hopes that it would be similar to The Hunger Games, yet it would also be appropriately different and it would hold its own.

It didn’t. Hold its own I mean. It did however try its best to replicate The Hunger Games. Yet it failed in that too. It was too much like The Hunger Games that I got bored rather easily because there was nothing new. It wasn’t even as half as good as The Hunger Games, it felt a lot more shallow and not as well thought out.

The point of ‘The Testing’ is so the government can find strong leaders that will do what they have to do, and I guess also be easily influenced by their decisions, regardless of what that means. Thing is, why would they be okay with killing off the smartest people in their world? Where’s the logical sense in that? Sure the weaker out of the smartest would be weeded out. But then they would also be dead. Very unhelpful.

I felt like the beginning of this book started off slowly. It took too long to establish Cia’s world and her life before the testing, I got bored easily. Yet I pushed on. I felt a little excited at the potential of the first round of tests but once it got to stage four of the tests which happened to be the survival bit, I got bored again. I felt like I had seen it all before. I didn’t feel like Cia had enough of a reason to be out there trying to stay alive. She wasn’t doing it for anyone, the stakes weren’t high enough, there was never any real danger. I didn’t feel like Cia was in any real trouble, as since before she left she had been prepared for this stage thanks to her dad’s warnings. It would have been a lot more exciting if she had had no idea what the testing entailed.

I kind of skimmed this part  but when I continued reading I felt like I hadn’t missed a thing. Nothing seemed to happen in the space of those pages. Obviously things did happen. Cia rehashed everything near the end anyway so I found out what did happen in the space of a page or two rather than chapters. And it didn’t really phase me.

Overall, go in to The Testing with low expectations and you may just like it. If you’re one of the crazy people that hasn’t read The Hunger Games or seen The Hunger Games movie yet, then there’s a chance you will like this. If you know you will love anything The Hunger Games then you also may like this. If you want something a little different yet also exciting then this may not be the one for you, but you’ll never know unless you give it a go right?

Miss J

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[Review #85] Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick

Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick Cover - Review - Book two in the Ashes Trilogy Title: Shadows
Series: Ashes
Book two
Author: Ilsa J. Bick
Genre: Apocalyptic
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

The Apocalypse does not end. The Changed will grow in numbers. The Spared may not survive.

Even before the EMPs brought down the world, Alex was on the run from the demons of her past and the monster living in her head. After the world was gone, she believed Rule could be a sanctuary for her and those she’d come to love.

But she was wrong.

Now Alex is in the fight of her life against the adults, who would use her, the survivors, who don’t trust her, and the Changed, who would eat her alive.

Review

Honestly? I was incredibly excited about Shadows. I loved Ashes and even though I felt like the last half of Ashes wasn’t even half as exciting as the first half of the book, I was expecting Shadows to up the game and be a whole lot better.

What I got wasn’t close to my expectations. I was incredibly disappointed.

The pace of Shadows felt a lot slower which lead me to getting bored rather often. There were definitely exciting action scenes that had me turning the pages but the bits in between those scenes were very dull in comparison.

The main difference about Shadows is that it’s told in third POV from multiple characters. So many characters. Characters that we were introduced to in Ashes but I couldn’t remember who half of them were because there were so many and I read Ashes quite a while ago. Shadows didn’t quite go over who was who, it just dropped straight into their story. So I found myself getting very confused and constantly getting pulled out of the story as I was trying to remember who the character was and why their storyline was important.

The rate at which the POV’s changed also annoyed me. I would be getting into one character’s journey when it would suddenly change to another persons POV and all excitement would be lost. I found myself constantly wishing it would just stick with Alex’s POV and her story. I just wanted to freaking know what happened to Alex. Not Peter, Chris, Lena or any of the other POV’s. I get that this story is a lot deeper than just people surviving monsters that want to eat them, I get that it makes you really wonder who actually are the monsters, I get that you’re meant to question; but I just wasn’t enjoying it. I forgot why Alex even wanted to stay alive, I forgot where she wanted to go and why she was fighting so hard. It felt like the reason she was enduring everything wasn’t made very clear. Or perhaps I missed where she reminded us.

While I was overly disappointed with this story I’ve realised it’s because I expected a different story to the one this told. I expected something that the first half of Ashes had felt like. This story is a lot darker and scarier than the beginning of the series, the beginning of the series really just set this story up, it makes you question and gets you thinking.

So Shadows wasn’t at all what I expected and was pretty big disappointment for me.

In Summary:
– After reading Ashes I had high expectations, unfortunately this book didn’t meet them.
– The pace was a lot slower in this book which led me to getting bored multiple times.
– Shadows is told in multiple third POV’s which didn’t work for me. I had forgotten who most of the characters were and since there was no reminder in the book as to who was who I had a hard time following each storyline. I really just wanted to see Alex’s story, I couldn’t care less about most of the others.
– While I wasn’t a fan of the POV’s they did start to show us the whole picture. This series isn’t a typical zombie book series, it has a bigger picture. Just who are the monsters in this world?

Miss J