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review 2017-03-29 22:50
Ten Thousand Skies Above You
Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird) - Claudia Gray

I absolutely loved the first novel in this series, A Thousand Pieces of You, and this book was just as good.  The story is woven throughout the multiverse as Marguerite fights to save both Paul and Theo.  And like the first book, this one makes you think about life, choices, and their unforeseen ramifications.

 

The events of the first novel changed Marguerite, changed her perspective on life and her beliefs about it.  Travelling through the multiverse and seeing the "what if's" has opened her eyes to how different choices can lead to vastly different lives.  But those beliefs get tested yet again as she travels through more dimensions and finds unexpected versions of the people she loves.  Those versions make her question everything.

 

And much like the first novel, the lines between good and evil are often blurred.  Whose intentions are good, causing them to do questionable things?  Whose intentions are just plain evil?  It is this kind of gray area that makes this such a thought-provoking series.  How far would you go to save the ones you love?  How far is too far?  Is there such a thing as too far?  These are just some of the questions that Marguerite has to answer.

 

The dimensions exist during the same period of time, but it is fascinating to see the different ways in which they have evolved.  To think about what that means, in terms of multiverse theory, is incredible.  The Russiaverse, a throwback in time.  The Home Office, a vision of the future.  The New York-verse, an alternate reality.  Each dimension has different versions of our characters, making them all ever more complex.

 

The story and its premise are, simply put, fascinating!  I couldn't recommend this more!

Source: thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12862
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review 2017-03-29 20:59
Atlantia
Atlantia - Ally Condie

Atlantia is a standalone novel by the author of the Matched series, which I loved.  This book, however, left me with mixed feelings.  The premise was amazing, but I just felt disconnected and I can't quite figure out why.

 

The novel takes place in a dystopian world split between the Above and the Below, the land and the sea.  Pollution has ruined the Above so most of humanity has moved into an enclosed, underwater world.  Those left Above suffered with the effects of pollution so that those they loved could live Below, thus saving humanity from extinction.  Each year, on the anniversary of the Divide, children of a certain age are given a choice... stay Below or go Above.

 

After their mother's death, Bay and Rio, twins, have promised each other they'd both stay Below.  Rio does this out of love because the only thing she's ever wanted was to go Above.  But then Bay chooses Above, leaving Rio alone in the Below.  Rio is desperate to know why Bay broke her promise and finds answers she never expected.  There is a lot going on beneath the surface (no pun intended) of life in Atlantia and Rio begins to learn these secrets.

 

I think part of my problem connecting with Rio was the fact that her character just seemed too one-tracked in her emotional life.  It was as if she expended all of her emotion on her sister, leaving very little left for other personal interactions.  No big highs, no big lows.  It left her feeling a little bland as a character.  The world-building also left me disconnected.  While the premise of the world was fantastic, I just had a really hard time envisioning it.  It almost felt like we should already know what a world like that would be like.

 

I liked the book; I just didn't love it.  And I really wanted to.

Source: thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12858
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review 2017-03-13 19:33
The Country of Ice Cream Star
The Country of Ice Cream Star - Sandra Newman

The Country of Ice Cream Star came to me almost by accident.  The library on post hosted an event around Valentine's Day called Blind Date with a Book.  I chose one based on nothing more than a genre and a vague blurb.  And it was unlike anything I've ever read.

 

It is a post-apocalyptic, dystopian, young adult novel set in the future.  It takes place in the remains of what was once the United States.  But disease and war has left the country decimated.  The overwhelming population is black or Hispanic, and even this population is left with a crippling disease that leaves what's left of the country run by children.

 

The story was fantastic, filled with sometimes subtle messages about society and values.  Faith, or the lack of it, plays a huge role in how new micro-societies have been formed and how they are run.  There are shreds of recognizable faith from our own reality, but it has been changed by the experiences these children have gone through and by time.  Race, too, plays a pivotal role.  It highlights how assumptions about race can evolve into entire belief systems.

 

But the most distinctive aspect of this book is the patois.  This is what made the book almost magical to me.  The book was written in an evolved version of street language, peppered liberally with Russian and French derivations.  Not just the dialogue, but the entire book.  From a technical standpoint, this awes me because of the sheer creativity it takes to undertake such a thing, and to do it successfully.  And this is not a short book.  As a linguist, this got my juices flowing.

 

Is it difficult to read?  Yes, it can be.  Having the language background that I do probably helped a little because I recognized a lot of the root words as French and Russian and could translate those easily.  Sometimes it was the evolved English that gave me the most trouble, words that had developed over fictional time to be used in different ways, in different forms and contexts.  Nouns that are now verbs.  Verbs that have become nouns.  Even familiar places are made unfamiliar with the new language.

 

This patois is something that I've seen turn many readers away, but I urge you to give this a shot.  It probably does take a great deal more concentration to read it, but the story is well worth it.  And the concept is just so unique that the experience is fantastic.

Source: thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12722
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review 2016-06-19 08:10
Immurement
Immurement: A Young Adult Science Fiction Dystopian Novel (The Undergrounders Series Book One) - Norma Hinkens

I think I've reached the point where I should take a break from the Dystopian future. This is the newest reading experience in a growing string of books from the genre that I didn't like. I think I might have saturated my need for Dystopian stories for a while. At least for the ones that don't seem to make a lot of sense.

 

Derry and her family and friends live in underground bunkers out of fear for the Sweepers who abduct people into aircrafts. The description is not unlike alien abduction. When her brother is taken, Derry will do everything she can to rescue him, at least until the love interest shows up. A girl and her priorities, I guess?

 

There are certain things that could have saved the novel, but unfortunately didn't. One of which was Derry's character. She was rather annoying, and the easy way in which she seems to forget her goals doesn't speak for her either. She's supposed to be the kick-ass heroine familiar to the genre, but instead she usually gets into trouble and needs to be rescued by a group of strong men. Also, I was quite disappointed with the reveal about the Sweepers. It didn't make a lot of sense to me, but to be completely honest, I was past really caring at that point.

 

Immurement is the first book of the Undergrounders.

 

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2016-01-08 12:17
Desperate Times (Desperate Times, #1) by Nicholas Antinozzi
Desperate Times - Steve Peterson,Nicholas Antinozzi,Coleta Wright

SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

8/1 - A really tense atmosphere and plenty of action make this quite the page turner. I didn't like Jimmy to start with, he reminded me of a character from the tv show Kingdom. He was way too ready to use his fists to solve his problems, but once the disaster struck his penchant for fighting became a logical response to what was going on around him rather than the easiest quick-fix option that's only going to make the situation worse.

I didn't realise this was the start of a series until I got to the end of the book and we're left with a cliff hanger. The idea that the police would turn up and declare "everything's fine now, you can all go back to your lives" was laughable and I'm surprised that so many people fell for it. How could they go back to their lives? If what happened to Jimmy and the others with him is any example 25% of the country (if not the world) is dead or injured as a result of most of the population going crazy. Every house, every place of business has been looted or even completely destroyed, most people wouldn't even have a home to go back to. Like in most disaster situations, it's going to take a very long time for things to go back to normal.

I'm not American and my government is not really like the American government, so maybe everything Antinozzi said about FEMA and the government is true or possible in the right situation, but I found it hard to believe the National Guard would behave as they were portrayed. Especially the 'shooting civilians without violent provocation' part. They were no better than the bikers. Frightened civilians were no safer with the people supposedly there to protect them than they were with those known for their violent and ruthless nature.

None of the above means that I didn't have problems with the book, I most certainly did, particularly in the editing department (I know, shock horror! :o).

The first thing I noticed (not an editing mistake) was that the opening words were 'Friday, September 24, 1869'. That's my birthday, 115 years before my birth.

Now onto the editing mistakes (sorry, no page numbers with this eBook):

Location 270
'Had Bill's booming voice waked her up?

That should be 'woken'.

Location 699
'Jimmy shook his head and unlocked the driver door.'

That should be either driver's or driver's side door.

Location 1021
'Carl must've known heard that in his voice.'

Even if you delete the mistakenly added known from that sentence it still needs work.

Location 1280
'Julie gave Jimmy a flash of smile...'

That should be a flash of a smile.

Location 1311
'...keeping together close as Ken had instructed.'

That should be keeping close together.

Location 1365
'He was relieved that Ken had finally made the peace.'

That whole sentence needs to be reworked, something like 'He was relieved that he and Ken were finally able to make peace with each other.' would work much better. To 'make one's peace with someone' means to reconcile with a person, it doesn't work when you change 'make' to 'made'.

Location 1739
'...a gun would become as much of his daily attire...'

The words a part are missing between much and of.

Location 1941
'There's always fish and worse comes to worse...'

The phrase is actually if worst comes to worst, sometimes if worse comes to worst but never as Antinozzi wrote above.

Location 2520
'Jimmy cocked his fists back and threw an exaggerated left hook...'

He only punched with one hand, so that should be fist.

Location 2623
'Many of Ken's people seemed most jealous...'

From the context of the sentence I think that's meant to be almost.

Location 2690
'Jimmy could count three people in that boat, one at the back and steering...'

That and is unnecessary.

Location 3454
'Buck says they even have the blocked on the far end of town.'

Whole sentence needs to be rewritten so that it actually makes sense.

Location 4294
'...raced up to Brenda with a buck and dumped its contents over Brenda's head.

From the context I'm going to assume Antinozzi's not talking about throwing money at Brenda, but a bucket of something.

Location 4444
'They rode in two abreast...'

That should either be they rode two abreast or they rode in pairs.

Location 4591
'Paula told Jimmy of how they'd fled the cities, barely escaping with their lives.'

Paula, her parents and Carl didn't flee multiple cities, they fled one. Therefore that should be city.

Location 4669
'Trying to makes some conversation...'

That should be make.

Location 5070
'Jimmy felt as if a light had just gone off in his head.'

The way that's written it sounds like the metaphorical light has been switched off instead of on, kind of the opposite of the idea I assume Antinozzi was trying to get across.

Location 5106
'"Ken and Patty talked me into leaving Tuscan and moving out here."'

Is that meant to be Tucson?

Location 5343
'"I didn't tell you that we were alone in the woods..."'

That sentence isn't correct, but if you make it correct with the easiest option the sentence ends up being a double negative - I didn't tell you that we weren't alone in the woods... - which while being correct, just doesn't sound right. The whole sentence needs to be reworked, and the following one too, to make it all work properly.

Location 5556
'For all he knew, everybody would have heard about it by now...'

That should be could.

Location 5736
'Fully half of Cleveland's workforce was unemployed...'

Is that an American idiom I'm unaware of? What is the point of the word fully in that sentence? It's not like the absence of the word fully will leave readers thinking that only a portion of half of the Cleveland population were unemployed. I don't get that at all.

Location 6006
'You could've lived the high life, gone to balls and played golf and did all that other stuff that rich people do.'

That should be done.

Location 6243
'He tried standing them off by himself...'

I think what Antinozzi was trying to say was He tried to make a stand....

Location 6280
'He suddenly remembered the backpacks that he and Jon had left them in the woods...'

The them is unnecessary.

Location 6303
'"She's telling them that God has provided plenty for them to eat, in the lakes and forests."
"You ever eat a pine tree?" asked Burt.
"No, I haven't," said Jon.
"Me either," said Jimmy. "Can you do that?"
Ken smiled. Sorry boys," he said, "that must've been before your time."
"Damn, I sure feel old," said Burt.'


What the hell are they on about? Does that mean anything to someone older than my (and Jimmy's) 31 years?

Location 6958
Chapters 6 and 28 have the same opening factoid about the powers of FEMA in an emergency.

Location 7073
Chapters 21 and 29 have the same opening factoid about who President Roosevelt blamed for the problems of his day.

Location 7180
'Unloading and reloading the truck took nearly the better part of an hour.'

It's either nearly an hour or the better part of an hour, it can't be both.

The same location
'...washing it down with bottles of generic soda.

Why do we care that the soda was generic?

Location 7568
'...he found a long-handled spade shovel...'

It's either a spade or a shovel, it can't be both. According to Wikipedia shovels 'generally are broad-bottomed tools for moving loose materials, whereas spades tend to have a flat bottom edge for digging.'

Same location
'He couldn't fight the hitch in his breathing any more than one could stanch a hiccup.

I think that's meant to be staunch, because stanch isn't a word (spell check keeps trying to change it to 'stanchion').

Location 7595
'Jimmy dug until the hole was three feet deep; then took the shovel from his hands and motioned for Jimmy to step out of the grave.'

They can't both be Jimmy, the second one should be changed to Dr Benson as in the next sentence he begins to 'attack the rocky soil'.

Location 7659
'The road seemed deserted and. He knew it wouldn't be for long.'

Bad punctuation to start with, but even if the full stop/capital letter mix up was fixed the sentence would still be awkward. If there was a comma after deserted followed by a but everything would work better.

Location 7742
'"Are you sure you're all right? Maybe Doc has something you could take."
"I'll be fine, Jimmy. I don't want to take anything. I need my wits about me."


Panadol is going to make you 'witless'? That's an extreme and slightly martyrish take on over the counter painkillers.

Location 8128
'That was out of the question since with Paula tied to his neck.'

I know what he's trying to say, but how did that turn into tied to his neck'?

Location 8294
'The last day at the Plant...'

Why is plant capitalised?

Location 8423
'...her eyes streaked with tears.'

Her eyes aren't streaked with anything (if they were she'd be moaning in pain), her cheeks are.

Wow!!!!!!!!!!!! I did not realise how many notes I'd made. Once I started pointing them out I couldn't see any not worth bringing up, so I had to mention them all, all 37 of them. I still really enjoyed the story, but I'm wondering if four stars is the right rating for a book with that many errors. I've been writing this review for 2.5 hours and I'm down to under 10,000 characters left, which makes this the longest review I've ever written. Funny how that happens when there are things to complain about, but when you love the book so much you want to marry it you have no words except saying 'fantastic' over and over. I would definitely read the next book in the series, but for the right (cheap) price.

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